Special meeting called for Bath building ordinances

by Trish Rudder

A special meeting with Bath attorney Richard Gay was scheduled for Tuesday, March 9 at 5 p.m. at Town Hall to speak to the town’s Ordinance Committee and Historic Landmarks Commission regarding the state’s rules on Chapter 8, Section 26A pertaining to Certificates of Appropriateness.

Gay is also scheduled to explain the adoption, implementation and enforcement of the state’s Municipal Building Codes.

Bath Mayor Scott Merki announced the meeting at the March 2 Town of Bath council meeting.

“All questions will be answered at that meeting,” Merki said.

Councilman Rick Weber said the Landmarks Commission, Ordinance committee and the Berkeley Springs Police Department need to meet together to learn what buildings are involved and what needs to be done.

Landmarks Commission member Donna Hoffman said the town needs ordinances to address all three – “new, renovating and demolishing buildings.”

Landmarks wants the council to work with them to protect old buildings, she said.

Because “we have nothing in place,” the recently sold Star Theatre building on North Washington Street “could have been torn down,” she said.

She said the Landmarks Commission wants to “save what we can and also know there is compromise.”

“Hospitality is what the Town of Bath is known for,” Hoffman said.

The state code on Certificates of Appropriateness reads, in part:

“In the event that any commission shall exercise authority to issue a certificate of appropriateness to regulate new construction, alteration, removal or demolition of buildings, sites or structures within an historic district or individually designated as an historic landmark, the commission shall have plenary power and authority to regulate such properties…”

Hoffman said, “We are eager to work with anybody who has a heart for these old buildings. We absolutely love our town.”

Merki said he wants the town’s building ordinance and the state building ordinance finalized by May 1.