Inspectors actions questioned, supported by state - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Inspectors actions questioned, supported by state

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Ann Lawing explains how Batson broke a window in the home. Ann Lawing explains how Batson broke a window in the home.
The Lawing's hoped to sell or move into the house, and currently can't do either. The Lawing's hoped to sell or move into the house, and currently can't do either.

KURE BEACH, NC (WECT) – A developer responsible for building numerous houses on Pleasure Island is stuck with his most recent project.

Richard Lawing and his wife Ann tell WECT.com that they lost a potential buyer for their Third Avenue abode because of the town's building inspector. The couple said the town employee became difficult to work with after the Lawing's billed Kure Beach $338.50 to replace a window he broke during an inspection.

Since then, Lawing said the building inspector, John Batson, found fault in a well behind the home and a small tree in the front of it. The interested buyer for the house was actually the one to tell the developers that the three-level home had not cleared its final inspection, according to Lawing.

Ann said the couple considered it complete months ago when the electricity kicked on, but learned three months later that the permit process was not finished.

A recent message to Batson from a code consultant with the Department of Insurance in Raleigh found the inspector's actions to be "entirely correct." The investigator included a comment that she's received complimentary remarks about Batson from the public in recent years.

The Lawing's already met with the mayor, the inspector and the building commissioner Emilie Swearingen, who also serves on the Board of Town Commissioners. Lawing said Swearingen and Batson walked out of the meeting before an agreement was reached. Neither Batson nor Swearingen have provided a comment at the time of this report.

Mayor Dean Lambeth said the Lawing's reached out to him for help in the situation, but he would not comment on specifics.

"I hope they can work things out," he said. "But it'll likely go to court."

The Lawing's can take their concerns to the town's board of adjustment for review. Richard said he's not sure about legal action just yet.

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