Gov. Harry Hughes said today he will not support legislation proposed by a commission he appointed to rewrite state condominium laws, but will instead submit his own bills to the General Assembly.
Hughes's decision, a victory for Mongtomery County officials who had opposed the commission's recommendations, ensures a confrontion in the coming weeks between the governor and several influential legislators on the commission.
The condominium commission last month voted to propose legislation that would restrict local control of condominiums and leave regulation up to the state, a position that was strongly favored by the real estate lobby in Annapolis.
Developers told the commission that local regulation of condominiums would result in widely varying laws throughout the state that would increase their costs and therefore costs to consumers. In addition, the developers said they feared that local legislation would be too tenant oriented.
Hughs had tried to persuade the commission during the weeks leading up to its vote to recommend instead that the legislature simply adopt general laws on the subject and allow local jursidictions to adopt their own condominium laws to deal with local problems and conditions.
Hughes said today that he had attempted to work out a compromise with the legislators on the commission during the last few weeks but abandoned that effort yesterday when it became apparent that he and the commission had different approaches to the issue of condominium regulations.
"They weren't in a position to compromise," said one Hughes aide. "They felt that what the commission had voted for went far enough. They weren't interested in any of the amendments we had proposed."
The Hughes position was strongly supported by the state's subdivision leaders and especially Montgomery County, which like the rest of the Washington area has confronted a growing rental housing crisis caused by condominium conversions. In the last year about 10 percent of Montgomery's renters have been told that their apartments were being converted to condominiums.