The City of Clarksburg's Code Enforcement Office has been ordered to cease and desist its operations in a letter sent by the West Virginia Attorney General's Office.
The letter dated July 1 was sent to Clarksburg Mayor Catherine Goings by Assistant Attorney Stephen Connoley on behalf of the State Fire Commission.
The Attorney General's Office could not make a comment on the matter as they are merely the legal representation for the State Fire Commission and all inquiries were referred to Lawrence Messina with the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.
"In terms of what options the city has, I think, is a question for the mayor, or the city attorney or some other official for the city," Messina said. "It does appear that the letter cites alleged actions that followed the issuing of the complaint at last weeks meeting of the Fire Commission."
The letter alleges "agents of Clarksburg have been retaliating against property owners, revoking issued building permits without valid stop work orders and generally continuing to engage in conduct in violation of the State Building Code," Connoley wrote.
It goes on to order a cease and desist of all building code enforcement by all individuals without certification and all certified individuals until the city adopts a current version of the State Building Code or until after the outcome of the pending Complaints before the Commission.
"Should you fail to comply, the Commission will have no choice but to take further action to ensure that you are not engaging in building code enforcement without adopting the most current version of the State Building Code, and allowing person(s) to conduct inspections without a valid certification," according to the letter.
The most current, enforceable version of the State Building Code was revised in 2009 after legislative action and a new revision just finished a public comment period on June 24.
Going forward Messina said the city will have to decide how to respond.
"The city may say its following the law and the Fire Commission, as a regulatory body, may say it doesn't," he said. "The simple answer is they're able to pursue a Building Code Program as long as that program is in keeping with the law."
As of Wednesday morning, Mayor Goings said she had not received a copy of the letter.