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Scheuttler quizzed over inspection certifications

Planning Commission member Steve Pierce questioned Planning Director Chris Scheuttler regarding inspection certifications during Tuesday's meeting of the commission.

Planning Commission member Steve Pierce questioned Planning Director Chris Scheuttler regarding inspection certifications during Tuesday’s meeting of the commission.

Inspections and problem properties topped the agenda at the Carter County Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday.
After a report by Jack Hampton on the number of inspections conducted and the number of permits issued during the previous month, members of the commission asked Planning Director Chris Scheuttler to report on the status of inspection certifications for the County.
Scheuttler reported that currently county inspectors are certified to conduct inspections on commercial and residential construction as well as residential plumbing. He also said one of the inspectors is testing for commercial plumbing certification in July and that the county currently has no one certified for mechanical inspections.
When an inspection is required that the county has no certified inspector for, the inspections are being completed by the state and the county must remit a fee to the state for the inspection.
During a previous meeting, members discussed the possibility of subcontracting the inspections currently being done by the state through contracts to area companies in an attempt to keep more of the money paid in fees to the Planning Office in Carter County.
“I met with the finance director about how we could go about subcontracting these inspections out,” Scheuttler said, adding that he was told by the finance director that those items could be worked within the Planning Office budget through the current line items with some adjustments.
Scheuttler said he has been discussing the subcontracting of the inspections with local companies and has received positive results. “These individuals are more than willing to work with us,” he said.
According to Scheuttler, the plan to subcontract the inspections out until the county can receive all of the required inspector certifications would not only help to save money but would also “keep money here in Carter County.”
Commission member Steve Pierce then questioned Scheuttler as to what inspection certifications he holds and the planning director responded that he currently holds no inspection certifications but has plans to obtain mechanical certifications.
“I’d like to see you pursue getting these certifications so you can do these inspections yourself,” Pierce said. “I would like to see something in writing with a time table for when you are going to pursue this.”
Pierce also requested that Scheuttler “put in writing” details of subcontracting for inspections and how much money it would cost or save the county. Scheuttler said he would provide the information requested by Pierce.
Code Enforcement Officer Chris Pierce reported to the commission on several properties which the Planning Office is currently working with in regards to code violations.
As part of his report, Chris Pierce mentioned two large tire dump sites – one on Whaleytown Road and one on Jim Duffield Road. He said he has been working on these two particular dumpsites since Dec. 31, his first day on the job.
“There was approximately 800 tires in just that one area (Whaleytown Road dumpsite), Chris Pierce said. “We estimated around 1,000 tires (on Jim Duffield Road).”
He reported that the sites are now cleaned up.
Chris Pierce also reported there are several other sites which are currently in the cleanup process. “The ones that make an effort I try to work with,” he said.
He also reported that some properties were turned over to County Attorney Keith Bowers for action because those property owners had failed to comply with requests to correct code violations.
Commission Chairman Jerry Pearman said he would like to see the commission require property owners to appear before the group. “From this day forward when he sends these letters out, some of these people are going to have to come before us and explain why they aren’t cleaning it up,” Pearman said.
Member Steve Chambers discussed with the commission his concerns regarding two intersections on Highway 19E that he said he feels are dangerous. The first is the intersection of that highway with River Road, which leads to Valley Forge Elementary and the second is the intersection of Highway 19E with Highway 321.
Chambers said he would like to see traffic lights at those intersections to make the roadways safer. “If we lose one more life before we get this done then we’ve failed,” Chambers said. “We’ve been talking about this for a long time.”
Pearman directed Scheuttler to prepare a step-by-step list of the actions which the county must take to get traffic lights installed by the State Department of Transportation at those locations.
Members of the Commission also approved a property rezoning request for 238 Old Watauga Road in order to allow the home owner to put in a mobile home for his son to live in until a house could be built at that location.