Hunter becomes

Planning and Codes Director Nancy Harris with Charles Hunter, the county’s new building inspector.

When Feb. 4 arrives, Charles Hunter will hit the ground running as Lincoln County’s first building inspector.

“I am more than pleased to announce that we have selected a building inspector,” said Nancy Harris, director of LC Planning and Codes, during Tuesday evening’s meeting of the Lincoln County Commission. “We went through an interview process and interviewed some pretty good people, but I’m pleased to announce Charles Hunter as our new building inspector and who will start Feb. 4.”

Lincoln County Mayor Bill Newman also welcomed Hunter aboard, saying during the commission meeting that he looked forward to working with him. It was the county’s previous commission which established the position late last summer, at least a few years after it was initially proposed.

Hunter, himself a county commissioner elected to represent District 4 in August, grew up in the construction business, helping out in the family business of brick masonry.

“He branched out into excavations, doing foundations, septic, final grade and other types of similar work,” said Harris after Tuesday’s meeting. “He also worked alongside all the different trades, learning firsthand about each. He’s run his own business for several years now. His new role as an inspector required him to step away as a business owner so as to not have any conflicts.”

“I’m looking forward to working with the builders of Lincoln County,” Hunter said. “I’ll do the best job that I can for the county, and if any of our builders have any questions, all they need to do is give me a call.”

The new dedicated number for inspections in rural Lincoln County is 931-297-2305.

Harris said four candidates, who each brought worthy attributes, were interviewed – “Charles won us over by having the entire package,” she said, noting that under state regulations, he has a year to become certified in different code disciplines. “We feel he has the workable personality we were looking for in an individual representing the county.

“I can’t express the excitement I have moving forward with a person of Charles’ character,” she added. “This is a huge step for the county in many ways – foremost, it’ll help us ensure that our structures are safe, and sound construction means our buildings will last longer and require less costly repairs. Too, I believe it also signals to developers that we are a community worthy of their investments.”

Permit Fees, rezoning approved

In other somewhat related business, commissioners gave their approval to amending the county’s zoning resolution to include a permit fee schedule, shifting the responsibility for costs from the county to developers.

Approval was also given to a request for rezoning 23 acres between Harbin Road and Pioneer Drive where a 15-lot subdivision is planned. The developer, Successus, LLC, known as Hyde Homes, has asked that the property be rezoned from A-1 (agriculture, forestry, rural) to A-2 (suburban residential).

Additionally, commissioners voted to amend the county’s zoning resolution with the adoption of building and utility codes under the 2018 International Building Code. Exempted from the code is the requirement that sprinkler systems be included in single family and two-family homes.

Each of the actions had followed public hearings held just before the County Commission meeting Tuesday.

Gaining the greatest discussion was the permit fee schedule as concerns were expressed about the costs of one of those permits. Harris explained that the fees had been derived out by using formulas in the international codes in conjunction with the building modifier for this area and relevant associated costs.

Residential building permits had been proposed to increase from $60 to $118 per square foot as part of the formula, but that was voted down 17 to 15 after comments by Commissioner Ricky Bryant, who then proposed an alternate figure as a multiplier of $88 – that motion was approved in an 18 to 4 vote.

To determine the amount of the permit for residential purposes, you would multiple total conditioned square footage by $88, and then multiple that figure by .004. In addition, you would multiple total unconditioned square footage by $47.80, and then multiple that figure by .004. The two calculated amounts would be added together to determine the total permit fee.

Somewhat similar formulas are included in the schedule for new construction of multi-family units and commercial/industrial buildings. The schedule includes, too, permit amounts for remodeling and other improvements, such as the addition of decks and pools.