The Shepherdstown Town Council adopted the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) in 2016. The current version of the IPMC is available for reference. https://codes.iccsafe.org/public/document/code/447/8069116
The Town enforces provisions of the IPMC that governs how the exterior of structures within the Town are maintained as well as general property maintenance considerations such as accumulations of debris or lack of adequate maintenance for landscaping.
The intent of enforcing the IPMC, similar to reasons why the Town requires Project Permits (issued by the Planning Commission) and Certificates of Appropriateness (issued by the Historic Landmarks Commission) for changes to structures in the Corporation, is to:
- Preserve the quality of life and rights of Town residents and visitors
- Protect property values
The Town adheres to the following policies in the enforcement of the IPMC:
- 1. Who can submit a complaint about the condition of properties in Shepherdstown?
Town officials, other property owners, other residents (e.g., renters), and any interested parties. In other words, anyone can request that the Town determine if the IPMC needs to be enforced for any property in the corporate limits.
- 2. How are complaints submitted?
Complaints can be submitted verbally to the Town’s Zoning Officer or via email or written correspondence; there is no specific form required for submitting a complaint. However, complaints should clearly state the issue and the property location.
- 3. Are complaints kept confidential?
Yes, the sources of complaints are not revealed to property owners without the express consent of the person who identified a potential problem.
- 4. What is considered the scope of IPMC enforcement?
Exterior condition of structures, debris in and around a property, landscaping that blocks walkways or obstructs vehicle sight lines at intersections. Interior conditions that involve potential fire hazards due to mechanical / electrical issues or potential health hazards such as mold will be referred to the State Fire Marshall and Jefferson County Health Departments, respectively.
In addition, procedures used by the Town to enforce the IPMC include:
- Upon receipt of a complaint, the Town’s Zoning Officer and Code Enforcement Officer will conduct an initial “windshield” inspection to determine if the complaint appears to be valid. If the complaint does not seem justified, the Town informs the person who made the complaint of this decision.
- If the complaint appears to have some basis in fact, the Town may transmit an initial notice letter via registered mail to the property owner of record that indicates a complaint has been filed and requests a meeting with property owner (or representative) within two weeks after receipt of the letter. In some cases, at the Town’s discretion for apparent minor complaints, Town officials may contact the property owner directly.
- After the issue has been identified, property owners must submit a plan for how issues will be addressed that the Town will approve the plan in writing prior to implementation. No changes can be made to a property that would otherwise require a Project Permit or Certificate of Appropriateness without completing these regulatory processes as well.
For more information, contact the Shepherdstown Zoning Officer at (304) 876-6858 or firstname.lastname@example.org .