Oak Harbor considering residential building inspections

Ottawa County inspectors would enforce code

After several months of discussions, the Oak Harbor Village Council agreed at its last council meeting to consider legislation that would enforce the state building code for residential buildings in Oak Harbor. The Council had consulted with Tracy Buhrow, Ottawa County Chief Building Inspector, about the benefits of building inspections.

The proposed legislation would adopt the building code as Village law with the Village to contract with the Ottawa County Department of Building Inspection to enforce the building code within village limits. The commercial code is already enforced by the county within village limits and Oak Harbor is one of only two municipalities in the county that does not currently enforce the residential building code.

Residential building codes would require inspections for new construction, as well as for maintenance procedures such as water heater replacements, furnace replacements, wiring upgrades and plumbing upgrades.

Supporters argued that requiring inspections would protect residents from unskilled or dishonest contractors. Council members against adopting the building code expressed concerns about the effectiveness and cost of inspections.

Inspections typically start at a base fee of $69 with the costs customized for the type of work being inspected. For example, an inspection after a furnace replacement would be $126, plus 3 cents per square foot of heated area.

The Village Council has a second reading of the legislation at their Monday, Dec. 2 council meeting at 7 p.m. Residents are encouraged to attend to provide feedback. Residents unable to attend can contact Mayor Quinton Babcock at qbabcock@oakharbor.oh.us or Administrator Randy Genzman at 419-898-5561 to provide opinions or have questions answered.

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