Montgomery County has begun to get tough with developers who do not live up to their site plans.
In September the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection revoked a building permit for eight town houses being consturcted in the Seneca Green community in Germantown by Multiplex Home Corp. of Virginia. The permit was revoked because Multiplex had not complied with its original site plan for landscaping and amenities.
It amrked the first time the agency had taken such action. Director Frances Abrams said she was not aware her department bad enforcement authourity until it was brought to her attention by the Montgomery County Planning Board, which must approve site plans. She said this action would serve as a warning to builders that "any in the past due to oversight on the part get away with it in the future."
Ralph Graber, chief of the planning board's division of construction permits, said the revocation is a signal that the broad plans to put "teeth into its site plan review." Last month the broad refused to negotiate a less costly settlement with Multiplex that would allow it to continue construction. Multiplex maintains that the changes demanded would add $22,000 to existing costs.
One sticking point involves unauthorizes extension of a parking lot in the community. The board asked Multiplex to remove the 30 by 40 foot surface.Instead, according to Richard Winnor, whose property the parking lot abuts, the builder offered to paint the lot to match his lawn.
When its offer was refused by the board, Multiplex agreed to put a bond.
In another action, the county's Department of Enviromental Protection also warned the Lener Corp., developer of the White Flint Mall on Rockville Pike, that it intended to revoke building permits for shops there because site plans for lighting, landscaping and screening had not been fulfilled.
The Garrett Park Estate/White Flint Citizens Association had complained that the parking lot lights at White Flint were stronger and more numeraous than those provided for in the 1973 site paln.
While Graber said Lerner did nothing for 30 days, Jerry Korpeck, an attorney for the developer, said the company began making changes as soon as the complaint was received. A letter of revocation was sent Oct. 18, but was rescinded two days later when Lerner submitted revised plans.
The new plan, submitted Oct. 21, provides for louvers and light shields anda device for turning the lights out at 10.30 p.m. It represents a compromise with the 1973 plan which Lerner felt did not provide enough protection for nocturnal shoppers.
On the state level, the Maryland House's Economic Matters Committee vored last month to strengthen rules governing home improvement constractors.Last year 1,310 complaints were received by the Maryland Home Improvement Commission from home owners who felt the work done was not all that was promised.
An important reform proposed would put unlicensed contractors under the jurisdiction of the commission. The Maryland attorney general recently issued an opinion saying that the commission could regulate only licensed contractors, not those whose licenses have expired.