By Alex Bridges
A new coalition in Shenandoah County could help contractors and tradesmen when strict rules take effect for builders.
The Building Inspections Department plans to help form the group in part to inform the construction community about regulations local governments must put in place to limit storm runoff from new projects. The coalition also would help the builders remain informed about other rules that would affect construction, especially permitting and costs.
The department plans to hold the organizational meeting of the coalition at 6 p.m. March 3 in the county government center in Woodstock. Building Official Michael Dellinger said Monday the county has received an "overwhelming" response since announcing the intent to create the coalition late last week. Dellinger said organizers moved the meeting to the boardroom because of the response.
"It's our goal to get it going and let the folks run it," Dellinger said. "People want this thing. They want to be able to have this information and be able to have this type of networking."
The Shenandoah County Construction Coalition would eventually become a member-led organization, Dellinger explained. Such a group likely would remain free to its members, he said.
"We just want to get the ball started and hope that the community will run with it," Dellinger said.
Staff members from the Office of Community Development plan to attend the first meeting to talk about the department's duties. They also plan to pass along information about the county's establishment of a state-mandated, stormwater management program. They will present a draft of the ordinance the state has required counties to implement by July this year and the county will seek feedback from the construction community about the regulations.
The meeting will allow contractors and tradesmen the chance to give the county input on the proposed regulations. Members of the building community also can use the meeting as a chance to solidify their network, Dellinger said.
"Just that open communication's going to make a little more of a difference," Dellinger said.
The county had few ways to pass along information to the construction community that would affect builders and contractors, such as changes in permit fees. Dellinger said the coalition would help keep contractors informed.
Dellinger has wanted to create such a group since he joined the staff more than a year ago, he said. A homebuilders association operated in the county up until several years ago. Membership was supposed to have split between the Top of Virginia Builders Association in Frederick County and a group in Rockingham County, Dellinger said.
The Office of Community Development houses the building department and oversees erosion and sediment control, stormwater management, land preservation, planning, zoning, subdivision and economic development.
Contact the Office of Community Development at 459-6190 for more information.
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or firstname.lastname@example.org