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Supervisors approve to amend Lafayette County building code fine structure

Fines issued by Lafayette County to residents found in violation of building codes are a rare occurrence, but the Board of Supervisors voted to make the fine structure more defined.

During their regular meeting on Nov. 16, the Board approved a recommendation made by Lafayette County building official Joel Hollowell regarding the County’s fine structure.

“There’s been a very rare occasion where we feel like there’s a need for a fine,” Hollowell told the Board. “Most of the time everyone is very cooperative as far as building codes, fire codes or whatever it may be. But there are very rare occasions where there needs to be some type of prosecution and some fine. So, we wanted to make sure that this was very well-defined in every one of our codes.”

There is a family of codes within the International Building Code, or the International Residential Code, that covers mechanical, fire and other issues.

Hollowell’s proposed amendment to the Violations and Penalties section of the county’s building code stated that anyone who is found in violation of a provision of the code or fails to comply with any of the requirements, or who erects, installs, alters, repairs or does work in violation of the approved construction documents or directed by the code official or of a permit or certificate used under the previsions of code will be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $100 each day that a violation continues after due notice has been served.

Hollowell asked the Board to amend each of the codes’ violation and penalties section, which the Board did unanimously.

The amendment comes two weeks after the Board voted to assess the owner of J&J Wholesalers more than $115,000 in fines. The property owner was found to be in violation of several codes for more than four years, according to the Board.

The change does not affect the Board’s decision from Nov. 2 regarding the amount of fines assessed.

“The fine for not having site plan approval is already established in the land development standards and regulations,” Hollowell said. “The land development standards and regulations also established a $50 fine per day for not having a building permit. So, he was fined according to that. This (amendment) would supersede that now. So, if there’s someone that purchases a building permit, this would become the fine structure.”