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County Executive John R. Leopold Announces Support of Provision Enhancements to the State's Critical Area Protection Program

Annapolis (June 27, 2008) -  Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold today announced that he is implementing a state law that becomes effective beginning July 1, 2008, that would allow the State to suspend or revoke the registration of homebuilders and the licenses of home improvement contractors and tree experts who perform work in the Critical Area that does not comply with State and County law. Anne Arundel County will adopt a “zero tolerance” enforcement policy for homebuilders, home improvement contractors, and licensed tree experts who perform work within the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area in Anne Arundel County. Chapter 119 of the 2008 Laws of Maryland (HB1253) will enact a number of measures intended to strengthen the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Critical Area Protection Program.  

“I have instructed the Director of Inspections and Permits and the County Attorney to implement a zero tolerance policy for homebuilders, home improvement contractors, and licensed trees experts who perform work within the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area in Anne Arundel County that does not comply with State and County law," County Executive Leopold said. "While the County has greatly intensified its enforcement activities within the Critical Area during my administration, deterring builders and contractors from performing illegal work within the Critical Area has proved to be challenging. I believe that Chapter 119 will serve as a stronger deterrent for those builders and contractors who choose to violate the Critical Area law.”

Chapter 119 also made important changes to the type of work for which a home improvement contractor license is required. As of July 1st, a contractor who performs work on residential property must have a home improvement license in order to construct, improve, or replace a pier or dock, or to undertake a shore erosion control project, including but not limited to the erection or replacement of bulkheads, groins, jetties, stone revetments, or stone reinforcement. It is a criminal offense for a person to act as a home improvement contractor without a home improvement contractor’s license.  If County inspectors find a contractor performing home improvement work within the Critical Area without a valid home improvement contractor’s license, the County will refer the offense to the State’s Attorney for criminal prosecution.  

The County, through the Office of Community and Constituent Services and the Department of Inspections and Permits, will take action to educate County residents, particularly those who reside within the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area, of the new requirements of the Maryland Home Improvement Law. Waterfront property owners who want piers, docks, or shore erosion control projects constructed, improved, or replaced will be reminded of the importance of having such work performed by licensed home improvement contractors.


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