Bath considers new demo rules

by Trish Rudder

The Bath Town Council approved the first reading of an ordinance relating to non-emergency demolition of buildings within the town. The proposed rules would require a property owner to get a permit to take down a building, and to follow certain safety and environmental procedures during demolition work.

At the June 1 council meeting, Town Recorder Susan Webster, said the council has determined that town code Classification (4) in Section 87 of amended Chapter 14 “does not adequately address the needs of the community in regards to the non-emergency demolition of structures within the Town boundaries.”

Council members Elizabeth Skinner, Susan Webster, Rick Weber and John Bohrer voted for the ordinance. Rose Jackson was opposed. Chris Chapman was absent at that council meeting.

Councilman Rick Weber said the ordinance is an addendum to the existing rules to make sure procedures and safeguards comply with state guidelines.

He said some time ago a structure was demolished without the town’s knowledge.

A permit must be granted before the structure is demolished, he said.

Safeguarding against asbestos contamination, etc. was the reason for the addendum to the town’s ordinance.

According to the draft Ordinance 2021-05-01, Classification (5) is for non-emergency situations when life and property are not in eminent danger.

The following rules apply:

–The applicant must be the property owner or show valid proof of representation of the owner.

–The applicant must show proof of liability, casualty and fire insurance which covers the structure for the duration of the demolition work.

–The town shall be name as an additional insured on the policy and proof of such insurance shall be presented to the town before any work begins.

–The applicant shall show proof of licensed contractor oversight of the demolition on the application.

–Perimeter security of the demolition site shall be presented within the application and maintained throughout the work and complete cleanup of the site.

–A time limit to complete the demolition and cleanup shall be no more than 180 days. The property owner can reapply for an extension on the time limit but must show cause as to why an extension is needed.

–The issuance of the permit for the demolition shall only be granted after the application has been posted and after the application has been presented by the Berkeley Springs Police Department to the Bath Town Council at two regularly scheduled meetings.

After the second presentation of the demolition application, the council may vote to accept or reject the application. The stipulations in this addendum — Classification (5) – must be satisfied before acceptance is granted.

–No work shall be allowed until the permit is granted.

–Permit fees and penalties shall apply to Classification (5) in the same manner as the other classifications.

The town council “shall cause to be created an application specifically for the demolition of non-emergency status structur

es. This application shall list the aforementioned stipulations to be satisfied before a permit is granted,” the draft ordinance said.

A second reading of Bath’s ordinance on the topic is scheduled for the next council meeting on Tuesday, June 15.

Councilwoman Rose Jackson said the draft ordinance can be read on the town’s website.