WINCHESTER — The Frederick County Board of Supervisors voted 4-3 Wednesday night to approve fire inspection fees for commercial buildings.

Supervisors Charles DeHaven Jr., Gary Lofton, Bob Wells and Shannon Trout voted in favor of the fees, while J. Douglas McCarthy, Blaine Dunn and Judith McCann-Slaughter voted against them.

The Frederick County Fire Marshal’s Office plans to implement the fees effective July 1, 2020. The office currently doesn’t charge inspection fees.

The new fees will impact approximately 1,400 businesses and generate a minimum of $175,000 in revenue after the first year.

The Fire Marshal’s Office office inspects high-occupancy establishments such as hotels, schools and restaurants but wants to expand the inspections to other businesses in the county to ensure building safety.

“I think it’s just a cost of business that has to be borne by the business . . . to make sure the general public and their workers are safe,” Lofton said. “This puts that expense on the businesses and not on the taxpayer.”

The fees are:

$50 for businesses up to 5,000 square feet

$100 for businesses between 5,001 and 20,000 square feet

$200 for businesses between 20,001 and 100,000 square feet

$300 for businesses between 100,001 and 250,000 square feet

$400 for businesses with 250,001 square fee and above

Places of worship and nonprofit groups would have a $50 inspection fee, regardless of their building’s square footage.

McCarthy, Dunn and McCann-Slaughter felt the county should have eased into adding the new fees instead of imposing them all at once.

Also at the meeting, the board:

Unanimously approved a conditional-use permit to allow husband and wife Lowell Henderson and Dr. Audrea Wynn to continue to operate Landfall Lodge special event center at 350 Chestnut Grove Road in western Frederick County.

Agreed to spend $257,000 to assist Winchester Fire and Rescue in constructing a firefighter training facility. The Winchester and Frederick County fire and rescue departments would jointly operate the two-story steel building but Winchester would own it and be the fiscal agent.

Voted to rezone 1.04 acres from General Business District to Industrial Transition. The site is next to the Sheetz at 1574 Martinsburg Pike.

— Contact Josh Janney


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