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Clarksburg building code enforcement under fire

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Clarksburg must halt all code enforcement activities immediately, according to the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office.

In a letter to Mayor Cathy Goings, Assistant Attorney General Stephen R. Connolly says the cease-and-desist order will remain in effect pending the outcome of a complaint filed against the city by the West Virginia Fire Commission.

The Attorney’s General’s Office is the legal representative of the fire commission.

“You are to immediately cease and desist all building code enforcement until you adopt a current version of the state building code,” Connolly states in the letter dated Tuesday. “All uncertified individuals should immediately cease and desist all building code enforcement as well.

“All currently certified individuals should cease and desist enforcement of your existing code until it is properly adopted or until the outcome of the pending complaints before the commission,” he adds.

Connolly states in the letter that the fire commission has filed a consolidated complaint and notice of hearing against the city and current and past employees for “unlawful and/or prohibited acts” in violation of the West Virginia Code.

“Since the filing, it has come to the attention of the commission that agents of Clarksburg have been retaliating against property owners, revoking issued building permits without valid stop work orders, and generally continuing to engage in violation of the state building code,” Connolly alleges in the letter.

City Manager Martin Howe declined to comment, as he hasn’t received a copy of the letter yet.

Goings didn’t return phone calls in time for this report.

The fire commission last week found probable cause to initiate a complaint against Clarksburg’s code enforcement office.

The complaint alleges the city’s building codes are unlawful and its code enforcement officers are uncertified.

It further alleges the city targeted specific property owners, and some officials enriched themselves and others through the use of public funds…

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