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County Seeks Legal Action in Violation of Stop Work Orders

Annapolis, MD (January 23, 2007) - On January 23, 2007 Judge Megan Johnson of the District Court of Maryland for Anne Arundel County in Annapolis, sentenced Garret E. Berge, of 7735 Locust Grove Road in Glen Burnie, to a sentence of six (6) months incarceration and a fine of $500. The judgment was for a series of violations of Stop Work Orders issued by the Anne Arundel County Department of Inspections and Permits. Judge Johnson suspended the jail sentence, and placed Mr. Berge on one (1) year unsupervised probation.

The initial Stop Work Order was issued on November 8, 2005, after an inspector with the Department of Inspections and Permits discovered work being done in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area that was beyond the scope of a building permit that had been issued to Mr. Berge and his wife Kathryn Berge. Mr. and Mrs. Berge had been issued a building permit to replace a 10 ft. x 16 ft. enclosed porch damaged by Hurricane Isabel. However, the inspection on November 8, 2005 revealed that Mr. Berge had placed forms to lay a foundation for construction of a 12 ft. x 24 ft. addition to his house at 7735 Locust Grove Road, and had excavated a basement to be located under the addition. The inspection also disclosed that the increased size of the addition caused it to encroach into zoning setbacks.

Subsequent inspections by representatives of the Department of Inspections and Permits on March 21, 2006, August 1, 2006, August 30, 2006, and October 25, 2006 revealed that Mr. Berge was continuing work in violation of the Stop Work Order. During the inspection on March 21, 2006, Mr. Berge told the inspector that he intended to continue work, and that the inspector was not going to stop him.

The Anne Arundel County Department of Inspections and Permits has advised Mr. Berge that, in order to retain the addition to the house as constructed, Mr. Berge will need a zoning variance for the setbacks, and will need approval from the Health Department in order to ensure that there is adequate capacity in the septic system serving the property to accommodate the expanded living space of the house.

The County has initiated a separate civil suit in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County in order to compel Mr. and Mrs. Berge to remove the addition if they are unable to obtain the necessary permits and approvals.

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant State's Attorney David A. Plymyer, (410) 222-7998. Mr. Berge was represented by Rex Caldwell, Esq., (410) 268-6801.


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