County hires employee to police developments|[7/8/06]

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 8, 2006

In its first real move toward enforcing its subdivision ordinance, Warren County supervisors hired a field officer to perform on-site checks of housing developments and other structures built outside city limits.

Reed Birdsong was given the title of permit inspector and was chosen for the job from a list of three other applicants, said Gwen Coleman, manager of the permitting office within the Warren County Emergency Management Agency.

Birdsong, 56, is a past employee of the Warren County Road Department and will have his salary set at $24,500 yearly, Coleman said.

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The position was created at the urging of County Engineer and State Aid Coordinator John McKee, who approached the board in March about hiring someone with enough working knowledge of county roads and enforce the ordinance that supervisors adopted in 2004 after rancorous debate.

&#8220We also wanted someone who is good with the public,” Coleman said.

The 30-page ordinance directed developers to build new roads and install drainage that will meet minimal standards. They were designed to cure problems with developers cutting financial corners in building infrastructure and not considering such factors as runoff.

Since then, some instances have occurred where housing has begun without the developer following due diligence in getting a permit. Some of them were later found to have violated the subdivision ordinance in some way, McKee has said.

Building permits are currently issued from the permitting office within the Emergency Management Agency. The hope is that having a roving employee &#8220in the field” will discourage violations of the subdivision ordinance as they occur.

Inspections should begin shortly after Birdsong’s hiring is official Tuesday.

In other business, the board approved a request for payment of $48,063.74 as part of its share of emergency dispatch costs.

The money pays for dispatcher salaries, matching benefits and insurance for Jan. 1 through March 31.

The board recessed until Monday at 9 a.m.