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The Richmond City Council wants to expand the gatekeeper role when it comes to building codes within the city.
Councilman Bob Bond brought up the issue Thursday night at a Richmond Ordinance meeting. Bond said the city is required by law to have a building codes committee. Mayor Pro Tem Mike Wright said the codebook the city adopted a few years ago requires a committee as well. Bond said a resident who said they have been trying to get the city to adopt a committee for years brought the issue to his attention. Currently all building code decisions are made by Community Development Director Lisa Hastings.
“Every time you have something come up, you have no way to appeal it,” Councilman Dave Powell said. “You bring it to qualified people if you need a decision.”
Wright said the issue was brought up about five or six years ago, and Councilwoman Terrie Stanley said it was brought up in 2007 but neither council took action.
Wright said at the time he was on the council, the city could not find enough qualified people to sit on a committee.
Powell said the town is lacking master plumbers and electricians because many in the area have had their licenses denied due to technicalities. Powell said an electrician from Lexington was denied a permit earlier this year because he paid the fee late. Powell said the man had an illness and could not get a license in time.
“This guy has been wiring longer than most of these people have been alive,” Powell said.
Powell said he knows of five or six other similar situations.
“Do you know how much that would please the community?” Stanley asked, “That would please them whole heartedly that they don’t have one person to answer to. Five heads are better than one. It’s one person’s decision and (they’re) talking about micro managing?
“That’s the problem,” she added. “We have a lot of plumbers in town that cannot work in Richmond. That’s a little ridiculous.”