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WEST VIRGINIA CODE

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§8-12-13. Building regulation; general and special codes; state building code.

(a) The governing body of every municipality shall have plenary power and authority by ordinance or a code of ordinances to:

(1) Regulate the erection, construction, repair or alteration of structures of every kind within the corporate limits of the municipality, prohibit, within specified territorial limits, the erection, construction, repair or alteration of structures of wood or other combustible material, and regulate excavations upon private property;

(2) Regulate electric wiring by prescribing minimum specifications to be followed in the installation, alteration or repair; and

(3) Regulate plumbing by prescribing the minimum specifications to be followed in the installation, alteration or repair of plumbing, including equipment, water and sewer pipe, traps, drains, cesspools and septic tanks.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, all existing municipal building codes are void one year after the promulgation of a state building code by the State Fire Commission as provided under section five-b, article three, chapter twenty-nine of this code.

Upon the voidance of the municipality’s existing building code, if the municipality votes to adopt a building code, it must be the state building code promulgated under section five-b, article three, chapter twenty-nine of this code.

(c) The governing body of every municipality shall have plenary power and authority by ordinance or a code of ordinances to adopt such state building code promulgated by the State Fire Commission.

(d) Unless otherwise authorized by state law, any misdemeanor prosecution of a violation of an ordinance adopted under this section before a municipal judge or other municipal official lawfully authorized to hear and determine violations of municipal code shall be initiated by a complaint presented to and sworn or affirmed before a municipal judge or other municipal official with lawful authority to hear and determine violations of municipal code in the municipality where the offense is alleged to have occurred. Unless otherwise provided by statute, the presentation and oath or affirmation shall be made by a code enforcement department official or municipal attorney showing reason to have reliable information and belief.  If the municipal judge or other municipal official with lawful authority to hear and determine violations of municipal code finds probable cause, the complaint becomes the charging instrument initiating a criminal proceeding.

A complaint lawfully authorized by this subsection together with a summons setting forth the date, time and place of appearance before a municipal judge or other municipal official with lawful authority to hear and determine violations of municipal code, shall be served in accordance with the law of the State of West Virginia concerning the service of process in civil actions, except that personal service of a summons and complaint may be made by a code enforcement department official.  If service is made by certified mail under Rule 4(d)(1)(D) of the West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure and delivery of the summons and complaint is refused, the code enforcement department official, promptly upon the receipt of the notice of the refusal, shall mail to the person or entity being noticed, by first class mail, postage prepaid, a copy of the summons and complaint.  If the first class mailing is not returned as undeliverable by the U. S. Postal Service, service of the summons and complaint is presumed to have been effectuated.  Upon service of the summons and complaint consistent with this subsection, the violation may be prosecuted consistent with state and local law.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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