Baltimore County residents with alley access must display their address numbers on the back of their properties to help firefighters and code inspectors under a measure narrowly passed by the County Council last night.
As part of the new requirement, county officials can impose a fine of up to $100 if a property owner does not display the address numbers after a written warning. The requirement will go into effect in 45 days.
The vote was split 4-3, with Council President Kevin Kamenetz and Councilmen Kenneth N. Oliver and T. Bryan McIntire voting against the measure. Kamenetz said the legislation, though well-intentioned, was another obligation for homeowners and county employees that isn't a high priority.
County law already requires homeowners to display their address numbers on the front of their homes.
In neighborhoods with rowhouses, address numbers posted on the rear of the property could help emergency responders and housing inspectors more easily identify the home, according to John Olszewski Sr., a Dundalk Democrat who sponsored the legislation with Stephen G. Samuel Moxley, a Catonsville Democrat.
"It's a safety issue," Moxley said in an interview.
The new requirement doesn't affect residents whose homes aren't accessible from an alley or other street providing vehicle access to the rear of their properties.
The address numbers should be 3 inches in height, under the rules.
In other business, Councilman Vincent J. Gardina, a Perry Hall-Towson Democrat, withdrew a resolution to establish a task force to look at affordable housing in the county.
During a council work session last week, Gardina and Kamenetz argued over whether such a group was needed.
Gardina said he would form his own group to study ways that the county could help working families afford houses in the county.
"I think it's an important issue, and I'm going to follow through on my own," he said in an interview.