Mathews County, VA
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of Mathews County; amended 9-27-1977; 8-25-1981; 6-23-1987; 4-28-1998. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Erosion and sediment control — See Ch. 50.
Floodplain management — See Ch. 63.
Sand dunes — See Ch. 122.
Sanitary district — See Ch. 125.
Sewage disposal systems — See Ch. 130.
Street names and building numbers — See Ch. 136.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 140.
Wetlands — See Ch. 166.

§ 20-1 Scope.

These rules and regulations governing administration and enforcement shall apply to the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code and any future amendments to this code.

§ 20-2 Title; applicability.

These regulations shall be known as the "Administrative Procedures of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code" (hereinafter referred to as the "Basic Code"). They shall control all matters concerning the construction, alteration, addition, repair, removal, demolition, use, location, occupancy, and maintenance of all buildings and structures and their service equipment as herein defined and shall apply to existing or proposed buildings and structures in the County of Mathews, except as such matters are otherwise provided for in other ordinances or statutes or in the rules and regulations authorized for promulgation under the provisions of the Basic Code.

§ 20-3 References.

Unless otherwise specifically provided in the Basic Code, all references to article or section numbers, or to provisions not specifically identified by number, shall be construed to refer to such article, section or provision of the Basic Code.

§ 20-4 Applicability of Basic Code.

The provisions of the Basic Code shall apply to all buildings and structures and their appurtenant constructions, including vaults, area and street projections, and accessory additions, and shall apply with equal force to municipal, County, state and private buildings, except where such buildings are otherwise specifically provided for by statute.

§ 20-5 Compliance required; exceptions.

No building or structure shall be constructed, extended, repaired, removed or altered in violation of these provisions, except for ordinary repairs as defined in the Basic Code, and except further that the raising or lowering or moving of a building or structure as a unit necessitated by a change in legal grade or widening of a street shall be permitted, provided the building is not otherwise altered or its use or occupancy changed.

§ 20-6 Matters not covered by Basic Code.

Any requirement essential for structural, fire or sanitary safety of an existing or proposed building or structure or essential for the safety of the occupants thereof and which is not specifically covered by the Basic Code shall be determined by the Building Official.

§ 20-7 Continuation of unlawful use.

The continuation of occupancy or use of a building or structure, or of a part thereof, contrary to the provisions of the Basic Code shall be deemed a violation and subject to the penalties prescribed in § 20-22.

§ 20-8 More restrictive provisions to control.

When the provisions of the Basic Code are more restrictive than local ordinances, the Basic Code shall control.

§ 20-9 Creation of Department of Building Official and Floodplain Management.

[Amended 9-25-2001]
The Department of Building Official and Floodplain Management of the County of Mathews is hereby created, and the position of Building Official is hereby created for Mathews County.

§ 20-10 Appointment of Building Official.

The Building Official shall be appointed by the governing body of the County of Mathews, and the Building Official shall not be removed from office except for cause and after full opportunity has been granted to the Building Official to be heard on specific and relevant charges by and before the appointing authority.

§ 20-11 Liability.

[Amended 9-25-2001]
The Building Official, officer or employee charged with the enforcement of the Basic Code, while acting for the County of Mathews, shall not thereby render himself/herself liable personally, and he/she is hereby relieved from all personal liability for any damage that may accrue to persons or property as a result of any act required or permitted in the discharge of his/her official duties. Any suit instituted against any officer or employee because of an act performed by him/her in the lawful discharge of his/her duties and under the provisions of the Basic Code shall be defended by the legal representative of the County of Mathews until the final termination of the proceedings. In no case shall the Building Official or any of his/her subordinates be liable for costs in any action, suit or proceedings that may be instituted in pursuance of the provisions of the Basic Code, and any officer of the Department of Building Official and Floodplain Management, acting in good faith and without malice, shall be free from liability for acts performed under any of its provisions or by reason of any act or omission in the performance of his/her official duties in connection therewith.

§ 20-12 Official records.

An official record shall be kept of all business and activities of the Department specified in the provisions of the Basic Code, and all such records shall be open to public inspection at all appropriate times.

§ 20-13 Duties and powers of Building Official.

The Building Official shall enforce all the provisions of the Basic Code and shall act on any questions relative to the mode or manner of construction and the materials to be used in the erection, addition to, alteration, repair, removal, demolition, installation of service equipment, and the location, use, occupancy, and maintenance of all buildings and structures, except as may otherwise be specifically provided for by statutory requirements or as herein provided.
A. 
Applications and permits. The Building Official shall issue permits for the erection and alteration of buildings and structures and inspect the premises for which such permits have been issued and enforce compliance with the Basic Code provisions.
[Amended 8-25-2015]
B. 
Inspections. The Building Official shall make all the required inspections, or he/she may accept reports of inspection by authoritative and recognized services or individuals, and all reports of such inspections shall be in writing and certified by a responsible officer of such authoritative service or by the responsible individual, or he/she may engage such expert opinion as he/she may deem necessary to report upon unusual technical issues that may arise, subject to the approval of the appointing authority.
C. 
Research and investigations. The Building Official shall make or cause to be made investigations of any new developments in the building industry; subject to local climatic or other conditions, he/she shall accredit tests meeting the functional requirements of the Basic Code conducted by accredited authoritative agencies listed in Appendix A of the Basic Code, or he/she may accept duly authenticated reports from the Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc., or from recognized authoritative sources of all new materials and methods of construction proposed for use which are not specifically provided for in the Basic Code. The costs of all tests or other investigations required under these provisions shall be paid by the applicant.
D. 
New rules. The Building Official shall promulgate rules under the procedure provided in the Basic Code establishing the conditions for use of new materials consistent with the provisions of the Basic Code and with minimum requirements based on accepted engineering practice.
E. 
Department records. The Building Official shall keep official records of applications received, permits and certificates issued, fees collected, reports of inspections, and notices and orders issued. File copies of all papers in connection with building operations shall be retained in the official records so long as the building or structure to which they relate remains in existence.
F. 
Annual report. At least annually, the Building Official shall submit to the Board of Supervisors of Mathews County a written statement of all permits and certificates issued, orders promulgated and materials approved.

§ 20-14 Permit required; exemption for ordinary repairs.

It shall be unlawful to construct, enlarge, alter, remove, or demolish a building; or to change the occupancy of a building requiring greater strength, exitway or sanitary provisions; or to change to a prohibited use; or to install or alter any equipment for which provision is made or the installation of which is regulated by the Basic Code, without first filing an application with the Commissioner of Revenue or the Building Official in writing and obtaining the required permit from the Building Official therefor, except that ordinary repairs, as defined in the Basic Code, which do not involve any violation of the Basic Code shall be exempt from this provision.

§ 20-15 Review of permit applications; expiration of permit.

A. 
Action on application. The Building Official shall examine or cause to be examined all applications for permits and amendments thereto within a reasonable time after filing, except for one- and two-family residential structures, for which the applicant shall be notified within three days after filing.
[Amended 9-25-2001]
B. 
Expiration of permit before work is commenced. A permit under which no work is commenced within six months after issuance shall expire by limitations and may be renewed by the Building Official or his/her designated agent.
[Amended 1-24-2002]

§ 20-16 Conditions of permit.

A. 
Payment of fees. No permit shall be issued until the fees prescribed in this chapter have been paid.
B. 
Compliance with code. The permit shall be a license to proceed with the work and shall not be construed as authority to violate, cancel or set aside any of the provisions of the Basic Code, except as specifically stipulated by modification or legally granted variation as described in the application.
C. 
Compliance with permit. All work shall conform to the approved application and plans for which the permit has been issued and any approved amendments thereto.

§ 20-17 Fees.

[Amended 9-25-2001; 8-25-2015]
Except as provided in Subsection A, no permit to begin work for new construction, alteration, removal, demolition or other building operation shall be issued until the fees prescribed in this section shall be paid to the Department of Building Official and Floodplain Management, nor shall an amendment to a permit necessitating an additional fee because of an increase in the original scope of the work involved be approved until the additional fee shall have been paid.
A. 
Exemption from permit fees for certain applicants.
(1) 
The following applicants for building and other permits required by this chapter shall be exempt from and shall not be assessed fees for the same:
(a) 
Public and private nonprofit agencies and organizations when providing housing rehabilitation, renovation and other construction assistance to low- and moderate-income persons and households;
(b) 
Mathews Volunteer Fire Department, Mathews Volunteer Rescue Squad, including their auxiliaries, and other Mathews County emergency services agencies and organizations; and
(c) 
Departments and agencies of the County of Mathews, including the Mathews County School Board, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the government of the United States.
(2) 
All of the aforementioned applicants which are exempt from building and other permit fees contained in this chapter shall obtain all building and development permits required by this chapter and shall comply with all applicable building and development codes except as provided by state or federal law.
B. 
New construction and alterations. The fee for a building permit shall be based on the square feet of the structure, as prescribed in local ordinance, and the Building Official is authorized to establish a schedule of unit rates for buildings and structures of all use groups and types of construction as classified and defined in Article 2 of the Basic Code.
C. 
Moving of buildings. The fee for a building permit for the removal of a building or structure from one lot to another or to a new location on the same lot shall be at the rate of $0.06 per square foot of foundation, with the minimum fee being $10.
D. 
Demolition. The fee for a permit for the demolition of a building or structure shall be $10.
E. 
Signs. The fee for signs, billboards and other display structures for which permits are required under the provisions of the Basic Code shall be $5 plus the rate of $0.03 per square foot.
F. 
Accounting. The Building Official or Commissioner of Revenue shall keep an accurate account of all fees collected for building permits, and such collected fees shall be deposited monthly in the County of Mathews treasury or otherwise disposed of as required by law.
G. 
Refunds on permits after issue. In the case of a revocation of a permit, expiration, abandonment or discontinuance of a building project, the permit fee shall remain in the treasury of the County.
H. 
Refunds on application for permits canceled on request of applicant. If an application for a permit is canceled on request of the applicant before a permit is issued, or if application for a permit is rejected, the permit fee shall be returned to the applicant if a written request for said refund is received in the office of the Building Official.
I. 
Penalty for commencing work prior to obtaining a permit. On any construction willfully commenced before application is approved and the permit fee is paid, a penalty of 10% shall be added to the fee due. Such penalty shall not be less than $20. Payment of such penalty shall not relieve the violator of action in the courts.
J. 
Fee for reinspection. In addition to the fees set out in the preceding subsections, there shall be a fee of $10 for each inspection made in excess of six total inspections if such inspection trips are made necessary due to work not being complete for inspection when request for inspection is made or if corrections are not made before calling for reinspections.
K. 
(Reserved)[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection K, Fee schedule, as amended, was repealed 4-22-2014. The current Fee Schedule is on file in the County offices.
L. 
Exemption from permit fees for certain applicants.
(1) 
The following applicants for building and other permits required by this chapter shall be exempt from and shall not be assessed fees for the same:
(a) 
Public and private nonprofit agencies and organizations when providing housing rehabilitation, renovation and other construction assistance to low- and moderate-income persons and households;
(b) 
Mathews Volunteer Fire Department, Mathews Volunteer Rescue Squad, including their auxiliaries, and other Mathews County emergency services agencies and organizations; and
(c) 
Departments and agencies of the County of Mathews, including the Mathews County School Board, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the United States Government.
(2) 
All of the aforementioned applicants which are exempt from building and other permit fees contained in this chapter shall obtain all building and development permits required by this chapter and shall comply with all applicable building and development codes except as provided by state or federal law.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Former Sec. 126.0, Board of Survey, which immediately followed this subsection, was deleted 9-25-2001.

§ 20-18 Appeals.

[Amended 9-25-2001]
A. 
Application for appeal. The owner of a building or structure or any other person may appeal from a decision of the Building Official refusing to grant a modification of the provisions of the Basic Code covering the manner of construction or materials to be used in the erection, alteration or repair of a building or structure to the Local Board of Building Code Appeals. Application for appeal may be made when it is claimed that the true intent of the Basic Code or the rules legally adopted thereunder has been incorrectly interpreted, the provisions of the Basic Code do not fully apply, or an equally good or better form of construction can be used.
B. 
Membership of Board. The Local Board of Building Code Appeals shall consist of five members appointed by the Board of Supervisors of Mathews County, one member to be appointed for five years, one for four years, one for three years, one for two years, and one to serve one year, and thereafter each new member shall serve for five years or until his/her successor has been appointed.

§ 20-19 Certificates of qualification.

[Amended 9-25-2001; 8-25-2015]
It shall be unlawful for any person, corporation or other entity to carry on, or engage in, the business of plumbing, electrical, building and mechanical construction unless such person, corporation or other entity has a current license issued by the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, Commonwealth of Virginia, to perform such work.

§ 20-20 Bond required.

A. 
All masters performing electrical work in Mathews County shall familiarize themselves with this chapter and shall give a good and sufficient annual bond in the sum of $5,000 with approved corporate surety, said bond to remain in full force and effect until December 31 following the year in which said bond is written.
B. 
This bond shall be so conditioned that all work performed by or under the supervision of said master shall be in accordance with provisions of this chapter and to indemnify the Board of Supervisors or the owner of property against damage by reason of any defect in materials and further conditioned to refund to the Board of Supervisors or the property owner any money expended to correct any work or repair any damage done or caused by the master in the execution of his/her work and further conditioned to save harmless any person, firm or corporation for whom or which the master or his/her employees may do work or furnish materials and that he/she will pay all fees and all fines and penalties properly imposed upon him/her for violation of any provision of this chapter.
C. 
If the bonded master fails, refuses or neglects to make such work conform to this chapter as directed by the Building Official in written order, the County Attorney shall notify the surety on the bond in writing, and if the surety fails to make such correction within eight days after such notice is mailed to the last known address of the surety, the amount of the bond shall be forfeited to the Board of Supervisors.

§ 20-21 Fire limits.

A. 
Fire District No. 1. No building within Mathews County shall be defined as being Fire District No. 1.
B. 
Fire District No. 2. Fire District No. 2 shall comprise the areas housing residential uses together with retail stores, businesses and amusement centers, or in which such uses are developing. Use Groups A, B1, D, F1, F1A, F2, F3, H1, H2, L1 and L2 as defined in the Basic Code shall be Fire District No. 2 for the purposes of this code.
C. 
All other building uses not included in Fire District No. 2 shall be designated as outside fire limits.

§ 20-22 Violations and penalties.

The penalty for the violation of this chapter is as set forth in § 36-106 of the Code of Virginia, and as may be amended.