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Resort Moves Ahead With CO Mandate As State Bill Dies
OCEAN CITY - Although a bill looking to mandate the use of carbon monoxide detectors in certain single-family and multi-family homes across the state died last week after it moved to the Senate and received an unfavorable report by the Education Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, a similar piece of legislation for the town of Ocean City continues to move forward with it being approved on its first formal reading at the Mayor and City Council's regular meeting this week.
It was back on March 13 during a Mayor and City Council work session that Councilman Jim Hall made a motion to look into mandating the detectors in all single-family homes, thus ensuring all dwellings in Ocean City that use fossil fuels for heat, ventilation or a variety of other uses, would be protected.
Two weeks later, at another work session, the council unanimously approved a motion to go ahead and draft an ordinance that would do such a thing, something neither pieces of previous legislation had touched on. At this week's meeting the ordinance had no trouble getting approved once again on its first formal reading, passing with a unanimous vote once again.
The new code, which will become part of the town's housing code, states, 'Every dwelling unit shall be provided with a listed carbon monoxide detector(s), installed in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations where any of the following conditions exist: 1. Dwellings where fuel-burning equipment is installed or operated. 2. Enclosed parking areas located within a dwelling. 3. Dwellings deemed necessary by the AHJ.'
As for dwellings deemed necessary by the AHJ, this could include something such as an art studio that may use wood burning equipment.
The race to ensure the safety of Ocean City's visitors and residents began last summer when two people from Lebanon, Pa., a father and his daughter, were killed in a Days Inn hotel room after they unknowingly inhaled too much of the odorless, colorless killer.
By mid-January, an ordinance amending the city's Fire Prevention and Protection code by mandating the installation and use of carbon monoxide detectors in both new single-family homes as well as designated multi-family dwellings where fuel-burning equipment, such as fireplaces or furnaces that burn solid, liquid or gaseous fuel, are installed or operated, had been drafted and was ready for its first vote of approval.
It was unanimously approved its first time around and a few weeks later, on Feb. 5, the ordinance unanimously passed once again on its second reading, finalizing the amendment to the code.
Ocean City's ordinance also served as a catalyst for a bill in the Maryland General Assembly that arose back in February that would encompass all of Maryland and carry similar regulations to that of Ocean City's ordinance.
House Bill 401 would have required all single-family and multi-family dwellings that currently 'rely on the combustion of a fossil fuel for heat, ventilation, or hot water; or is connected to a garage' to have a carbon monoxide detector installed within 25 feet of the equipment or garage.However, after passing in the House with a 136-0 vote, the bill soon died in the Senate when its committee gave the legislation an unfavorable report.