Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Violations of Lafayette County Building Codes Can Now Result in Fines

By Alyssa Schnugg
News editor
alyssa.schnugg@hottytoddy.com

Fines have never been the first course of action in Lafayette County when trying to encourage building owners to get their properties up to standard. In fact, there have been no established fine rates for building code violations since the current ones for Lafayette County were adopted in 2014.

However, as of Monday, those in violation of the County’s building codes will now be subject to a fine of $100-per-day until those violations are resolved.

Building Official Joel Hollowell said there are a few rare occasions when other avenues fail to get people to comply.

“Most times everyone is very cooperative with us as far as building codes, fire codes,” he said. “But sometimes there is a need to have some type of prosecution, some type of fine.”

On Monday, during the Supervisors’ regular meeting, Hollowell presented a recommended fine of $100 for each day the violation occurs after the homeowner is made aware of the infraction.

“We wanted to make sure this is very well defined in all of our codes,” he told the Board.

The International Building Code and the International Residential Code are a “family” of all of the County’s building codes; however, each code stands alone, since there are occasions where someone may only be putting in plumbing or doing electrical work.

The Supervisors voted to set the fine amount to $100-per-day for each separate code.

Fines are already in place for violations of the Land Development Code. Violations include things like failing to gain a site plan approval or applying for building permits.

Supervisor Larry Gillespie said at the meeting that he wanted to be clear that the Board won’t use the new fines as its first option against violations.

Hollowell agreed.

“Whenever we can reach compliance through other means, that is what we are going to do,” Hollowell said.