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City Administrator seeks to outsource blueprint inspections

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen passed Resolution 2012-59 Tuesday night on the first of three readings, which would outsource the inspection of all plans for commercial developments larger than 10,000 square feet. In other cases, the resolution would allow developers to begin construction before city inspectors have approved its plans.

The resolution reads: “The applicant shall select a consultant from a city-approved list of professional building plan review consultants … Upon receipt of a consultant-approved set of plans and compliance with other applicable development conditions and regulations, the reviewed plans shall be reviewed by Building and Neighborhood Services staff for building code compliance.”

Ward 4 Alderman Margaret Martin raised concerns about outsourcing such an integral component of the approval process.

“I am bothered [using a] third party,” she said. “There is a possibility that people might have a conflict of interest.”

City Administrator Eric Stuckey said there is a checks-and-balance component built into the measure.

“Just as [a consultant] can be added to the list, they can also be removed from the list,” he said.

While using a third-party inspector would be mandatory for projects 10,000 square feet and larger, developers would have the option to use one for smaller projects as well. In the event the developer should use the city's inspectors, it would be allowed to begin construction without approval should inspectors fail to review the plans within 20 working days after the initial submission.

“Plans that are incompletely reviewed within the established maximum timelines will be stamped 'Released for Construction' and returned to the applicant as submitted,” reads the resolution. “The plans released will be deemed not to represent a code compliant installation, and the project will be inspected as constructed to determine compliance with adopted construction codes.”

The ordinance would also provide developers the option to pay additional fees, including in-house labor costs at 1.5 times the regular rate of pay, to receive faster service, provided a qualified member of the BNS staff is available to work overtime.

“We're making a lot of concessions to developers, and we're lowering our standards,” Martin said. “But, I trust our staff. If we didn't have such a good staff, I would have voted against it tonight.”

At-large Alderman Ann Petersen asked what benefit to the city is created through outsourcing the larger projects.

“It's the smaller businesses that need our time and attention,” said Chris Bridgewater, director of Building and Neighborhood Services Department. “That's where we want to focus.”

Vice Mayor Michael Skinner asked Eric Stuckey to provide BOMA with follow-up information should the measure become enacted.

“Could we have the Codes Department report back to us in six months?” he asked.

“Yes,” said City Administrator Eric Stuckey. “We'd be happy to report back and show you how we're doing.”

Franklin, WilCo may partner on hazardous waste facility

The city of Franklin took its first step Tuesday night toward partnering with Williamson County to build a drop-off site for hazardous waste such as gasoline, diesel fuel, and pesticides.

Becky Caldwell, director for Franklin's Department of Solid Waste, told BOMA that she is discussing with county officials the possibility of co-funding a $500,000 facility to accept hazardous materials. The materials would be transported by a contractor out of the county for recycling.

The key, Caldwell said, is securing the funding.

“We're currently in the process of applying for a $250,000 grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation,” she said.

Although in the early stages of discussion, Caldwell said county officials have pledged $100,000 toward the facility that would accept hazardous materials from across the county. The city would fund the balance of the facility.

“Generally speaking, the types of hazardous waste the new facility would accept have strong odors, or are corrosive, and/or flammable,” Caldwell said.

Currently, Williamson County partners with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to host one hazardous waste collection event each year, she said.

Death delays Simmons Ridge public hearing

Mayor Dr. Ken Moore announced that a public hearing slated for Tuesday to discuss revising the development plan for Simmons Ridge, a subdivision planned for South Carothers Road, has been rescheduled for Dec. 11. Moore said that a death in the developer's family prompted the change.




Posted on: 11/14/2012


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