Council Moves Ahead With CO Detectors For Homes

OCEAN CITY – Just two weeks after Councilman Jim Hall made
a request to set aside some time in an upcoming work session to discuss the
idea of mandating the use of carbon monoxide detectors in all single-family
homes in the resort, the code was added to the books and unanimously approved
at the council’s work session this week.

Recently, legislation was introduced at the Maryland
General Assembly that would look to have a similar effect to that of an
ordinance passed a few months ago by the town requiring the use of carbon
monoxide detectors in certain multi-family homes in Ocean City, all over
Maryland. However, neither of the legislative pieces targeted single-family
homes until now.

The addition of the mandate was added to the housing code,
according to Chief Building Official Mike Richardson, because it’s a
retroactive code that can be added easily and enforced retroactively as well.

The new code states, “Every dwelling unit shall be
provided with a listed carbon monoxide detector(s), installed in accordance
with the manufacturers recommendations where any of the following conditions
exist: 1. Dwellings where fuel-burning equipment is installed or operated. 2.
Enclosed parking areas located within a dwelling. 3. Dwellings deemed necessary
by the AHJ.”

According to Richardson, dwellings deemed necessary by the
AHJ could include something such as an art studio that may use wood burning
equipment.

Councilman Jim Hall said he thinks the new code is a great
idea but began questioning what kind of timetable owners would be faced with in
regards to how long they have to comply with the new law. Being as it is a
measure he believes is crucial, Hall recommended a six-month window.

“This is a very simple manner,” Richardson said. “I have
them in my house. They are inexpensive and battery operated.”

Councilman Jay Hancock was a little concerned with having
a timetable of six months for owners to have the detectors installed where as
owners of multi-family homes in the previously passed ordinance have up to two
years to comply. However, he soon dropped the issue when he said it might be
too late to have the two-year deadline moved up to be more in accordance with
the new single-family code.

Council Secretary Nancy Howard had a different concern and
asked Richardson how something like this would be enforced.

“With 26,000 residential units in Ocean City, it’s not
going to happen over night,” he replied. “It will mainly be on a complaint
basis, the same way smoke detectors are regulated.”

Mayor Rick Meehan said something like this would not have
to be heavily regulated since it is something most people will agree with.

“I think most people want to do the right thing and if
there is a law on the books, I think most people want to comply with the law,”
he said.

A
motion was then made to go ahead and approve the addition of mandating carbon
monoxide detectors in the housing code and was unanimously approved where it
will be voted on once more on Monday night when it will become an official
ordinance. 

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