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Analysis: Pending Licking County resolution would restrict homeowners’ rights

By Charles Prince

NEWARK – Two of the three Licking County Commissioners, according Commission President Duane Flowers, are poised to approve  a controversial contractor registration requirement next Tuesday morning.

The discussion, which apparently began in March, has been under the radar until Flowers read a nearly four-page statement during the Tuesday, November 20, commissioners meeting and then posted it on Facebook.

The one and half page policy requires residential and commercial general, electrical, HVAC, refrigeration, fire protection, and hydronics contractors “to register with Licking County prior to starting any work within the unincorporated areas of Licking County.” Plumbing contractors must be registered with the Licking County Health Department. The registration fee is $100 per year for each type of contractor. Contractors must also carry and provide proof of at least $500,000 general liability insurance, Workers Compensation and Ohio Construction Industry licenses if doing commercial work. All subcontractors doing the work of the listed contractor types also must be registered, even if working for a registered general contractor.

Flowers said Tuesday, “My conscience tells me that a “section” of these administrated rules would violate that oath (to uphold the Ohio and U.S. Constitutions) when it comes to individual rights.” He adds that the new requirement will increase the cost of housing. “Does it increase the cost by eliminating competition? I believe it will increase the cost of all projects at its inception.”

Homeowners have a very limited right to do their own work on their own property without registration. A Homeowner Permit Affidavit is required. The work being done by the homeowner must be listed. Homeowners must agree to each of the following “stipulations” and initial each one.

  • I agree to only use this dwelling, and its accessory structures, as a home for myself and my family;
  • I agree to obtain all required approvals and inspections for the work being performed on the dwelling;
  • I agree to inform the Licking County Building Code Department if I decide to hire a contractor to complete any work that is listed as requiring registration;
  • I agree that any contractor hired to complete any work requiring registration must be registered with the Licking County Building Code Department.
  • I have read and agree to all the above stipulations and I know there is a fine or imprisonment for violating the resolutions of Licking County.

The affidavit must be signed in front of a notary and includes a second warning at the bottom about the possible fine and imprisonment (up to six months) for falsification of a public document.

The policy also addresses homeowners doing their own work. “A contractor meeting one or more of the definitions of contractor types that is hired to complete any portion of the work must be registered. If the hire is made after the Homeowner Affidavit is submitted, then it is the homeowner’s responsibility to notify our office of the contractor hired, and identify the specific work that contractor is performing. A homeowner may have assistance from other persons not registered, or unreported to our office, provided that no contract, written or verbal, exists between the parties involved.”

Better not offer a case of beer, a BBQ or anything of value to a friend to help you with a construction project on your home. An offer of anything of value, including an offer of providing your labor for one of your friend’s projects, would likely be considered a verbal contract.

Flowers wrote, “Forcing an individual, a private citizen, to get a government exemption and forcing them to sign a document that states failure to conform can be grounds for imprisonment and a monetary fine is a violation of due process and hinders free enterprise as I understand it.” He added that when he attended the first meeting several months ago, “the conversation was, in no way residential properties would be included.”

A report in The Advocate on the Commissioners March 6, 2018, discussion on the registration requirement stated that a Contractor Registration Review committee would be formed. The minutes of the Commissioners’ March 8, meeting also state, “A committee is being formed to review and submit recommendation.”

The Beacon asked the Commissioners’ Clerk/Administrator Beverly Adzic about the committee membership and its recommendations Wednesday. Adzic quickly responded “…to the best of my knowledge there was no formal commission or committee created, but rather a group of interested individuals, who met periodically to further discuss the topic.” She also provided an email list of the individuals “interested most in the topic,” cautioning she didn’t know whether they attended the discussions. The emails listed were:

  • Christian Robertson, president of Robertson Construction Services, Inc.
  • Sean Weekley of Weekley Electic;
  • Frank ? of Southgate Corporation;
  • Tom Shaw of Shaw Mechanical;
  • Eric Landis of LICO Construction;
  • W. Gutridge of Gutridge Plumbing;
  • Luke Baus of Project Construction;
  • Greg Courson of Courson Home Improvements;
  • Buckeye Valley Building Industry Association;
  • Troy Warnock, new director of the Licking County Building Code Department; and
  • Jack Pryor, recently retired director of the Licking County Building Code Department.

With the exception of Warnock and Pryor, the entire group discussing the new regulations are members of the Buckeye Valley Building Industry Association, an industry trade association. Particularly notable is the absence of any input from township trustees who represent the property owners who will be affected by the new regulations. This writer, who also serves as a township trustee, was totally unaware of these discussions until Flowers sounded the warning on Tuesday.

As he concluded his statement, Flowers said, “I would suggest for the good of the order (that) we re-think what we are doing here. I believe you as a group should go back and have a couple more informational meetings, invite the first group back that was in the first meeting who heard the words this will not affect the residential sector and also try to get others involved such as those agencies and groups working toward affordable housing and providing for the homeless, include the Township Trustees, Municipal leaders if their communities will be affected and invite the true heartbeat of America, the farmers and individuals that these rules would truly affect, hurt and cost.”

Currently, the resolution establishing the contractor registration requirement is expected to be on the Commissioners agenda for approval Tuesday morning, November 27. The agenda for that meeting had not been released as of noon Friday. Commissioners’ meetings start at 9 a.m. on the fourth floor of the Licking County Administration Building.

Residential property owners would have to submit an affidavit to do construction work on their home if Licking County Commissioners approve a contractor registration requirement on Tuesday, November 27. Beacon photo by Charles Prince.


24 responses to “Analysis: Pending Licking County resolution would restrict homeowners’ rights”

  1. S Jacks says:

    The group of contractors attending the meeting should never happen . They are the ones that will benifit from the new policy. Have they made any political contributions? Where are all the township trustees?

  2. Lynda Hess says:

    Dumbest idea ever. Now people won’t be ABLE to fix their homes because they won’t be able to AFFORD it, because the idiots are KILLING the competition. Time for a new council, I’m not kidding

  3. Sharon Peters says:

    Nothing these money grabbers do will surprise me. This was at one time, one of the nicest, friendly, counties to live in..NO MORE.. I have been made aware that we have a new boss around these parts.

  4. Jim Ryan says:

    This is the government stealing from small business

  5. Phyllis Bartow says:

    This is a horrible thing. If these people have the greater interest of the area and the citizens in mind and heart, they cannot possibly, in clear conscience pass such a resolution.

  6. Scott Romine says:

    This will definitely put the brakes on the housing in this area and don’t expect a re-election. Thanks to Duane Flowers for making this known to the public

  7. Becky McFarland says:

    Not necessary or appropriate for residential properties occupied by the homeowner. In no way should these properties be included. There doesn’t seem to be a reason mentioned for doing this for commercial or rental homes either, so it would seem that more discussion needs to occur.

  8. Sheri says:

    Which areas are considered the, “unincorporated areas” since these are the areas that would have to adhere to this ridiculous policy?

    • Charlie Prince says:

      Unincorporated areas are any areas outside villages and cities. Anyone who votes for township trustees would be affected. Depending on a village’s or city’s contract with the Licking County Building Code Department, homeowners living in villages and cities could also be affected.

  9. This is wrong. We the people need to vote on this proposal!

  10. escaped buckeye says:

    easy solution, when the house gets the point where they can’t fix anything, burn it down, refuse to pay taxes on it and make the county deal with it. 30 or 40 of those and they will stop stepping on peoples rights. I’m so glad I moved away from Ohio and it’s socialistic bureaucracy.

  11. Cody says:

    Looks like one those resolutions they are going to try to pass way under the radar without the public knowing about till its too late to do anything about it. If they need to hide it from public then it is not in the best intrest of the public. Something like this that is going to affect everyone needs to go the ballots for everyone to choose, not just a few bribed council members to quietly decide on.

  12. tim bailey says:

    a total rip of just a way for them to get tax money to waste just like the building code dept total waste they inspected and passes the electrical work on the house that burned down from electrical problem last yr

  13. Tom Kosik says:

    Talk about a self-serving committee. Purposing to create a monopoly that guaranties their business, forcing the average citizen to dole out money they cannot afford for services they can perform themselves is lawful theft. Since when do we have a problem in this area? As for the home fire that was inspected, the area that caught fire was not part of the new installation but existing older equipment. Do any of these ‘Public servants’ expect to ever be elected or trusted by the people again? Why the secrecy Tim Bubb? The township trusties were kept in the dark as were the voting public? WOW! Talk about a bag of snakes.

  14. Roger Hegemier says:

    DOes this proposed resolution solve some specific problem? Seems like more beurocracy to limit rights of homeowners and investors. Again, does this solve a particular problem? Maybe there should be an open meeting to discuss with more attendees before this “pending resolution “ comes to a vote ! Come on people, let’s be fair !!! Roger Hegemier

  15. Fred Hambel says:

    Boycott every business that is represented by a member on this so called committee and something about the sunshine law may have been violated!! Vote the other two out!!!

  16. Marty Ackermann says:

    This resolution is without merit or
    Redemption for the County of Licking
    To propose this to working men ( and women)
    And it’s sponsors in Licking County Government should be impeached and told to
    Remove themselves from any connection
    To The United States of our hardworking middle class /and Homeowners living in America . OMG 😮

  17. Michael Thurman says:

    In essence they are saying that “no” Home handyman can go to Lowes’, Home Depot, Menards, 84 Lumber, or any other retail store to buy and install their own, Windows, Doors, Water Heater, Kitchen cabinets, Bathtub/Shower, Concrete sidewalk, or even Roof, without Paying, fees, fees, and FEES, and if they can’t finish and need a “buddy” to help has to re-apply for said permit with the “spelled” out changes. Political bureaucracy attempting to further Hamper living the American Dream

  18. Loretta says:

    This would be a major reason to list our home and move out of Licking County. Let us, the homeowners, have a say in this. Amish have done such a great job increasing the vaur of our home only to have the asinine decisions be forced upon us…. The tax payers. What a shame.

  19. John says:

    This is nothing more than a communist approach for one segment of powerful people to decide what is best for others. Next they will try and tell me that I should eat cheerios rather than frosted flakes for breakfast, because it is better for me. Remember when the Hitler started killing the Jews and confiscating their property for the good of the country, no one spoke up because it didn’t affect them.

  20. Steve says:

    Screw them, I will fix my house if I need to. Getting ready to redo my deck and put a hot tub in. Let me catch them on my property.

  21. Terry M Drummond says:

    It is hard to believe that the commissioners would be involved with something so detrimental to the people who elected them. This is a clear effort to make the homeowner unable to work on their own homes. The Building Industry will be the only ones to benefit from this, and only the larger ones. These commissioners will NOT be re-elected. Thank you to Mr. Flowers for shining a light on this hidden sabotage.

    • Richard l. Hughes says:

      This is clearly wrong. Was it it approved or rejected?

      • Charlie Prince says:

        It was rejected unanimously for the time being. It may come back but this time county commissioners pledged that they will provide an opportunity for public comment during the development stage. We will need to be vigilant to make sure that happens.

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