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Commission offers recommendation for building foundations

Members of the Washington County Regional Planning Commission gave unanimous approval to a resolution regarding foundations of destroyed or demolished buildings and structures during their July 1 meeting.
“This came in from the county attorney yesterday recognizing complaints on old building foundations,” Zoning Administrator Mike Rutherford said.
According to the resolution, “any property owner shall have 18 months after a fire, destruction or demolition of a building or structure to clean up the property and remove all the foundation unless the property owner intends to reconstruct the building on the foundation, then under those circumstances, the property shall obtain a building permit for said reconstruction. Any reconstruction must commence within six months of the issuance of the permit or said permit will expire.”
Rutherford explained the amount of time needed to settle with an insurance company and then decide on a new plan for the property was the basis of the 18-month period.
In addition, a complaint must be filed in order to activate the enforcement of the proposed policy.
“We only have seven staff, and we can’t ride the roads looking for structures,” he said. “We thought this was the simplest, most restrictive and fairest policy.”
At the direction of County Attorney Keith Bowers, the resolution was provided to the Planning Commission for consideration.
Planning Commissioner Mark Larkey said the 7th District he serves as a county commissioner contains a piece of property with a remaining foundation that has had no action in years. “It has become an eyesore, and this (resolution) gives us a guide,” he said.
Planning Commissioner Johnny Shadden made a motion to recommend the resolution to the county commission. The motion was seconded by Commissioner George E. “Skip” Oldham and passed with unanimous approval.
The resolution will be considered during the July 28 meeting of the county commission.
If approved, the Washington County Zoning Administration and Code Enforcement Office will be responsible for enforcing the provisions of the resolution.