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No boom in bldg. permit revenues over past few years

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By Damon Lawrence

Building permit revenue hasn’t boomed since the Roane County Codes Enforcement and Zoning Office moved to the white house on Third Street in Kingston.

It actually dipped in the years following the move before ticking back up last year.

Roane County Executive Ron Woody said that’s because market conditions, not the location of the Codes Enforcement and Zoning Office, dictates the demand for building permits.

“Your revenue is based upon the need, and the need is based upon the economy,” Woody said.

Roane County made $143,422 on building permits during the 2009-10 fiscal year.

Revenue failed to exceed $120,000 the two years that followed. The county made $141,829 on building permits in the 2012-13 fiscal year.

Codes Enforcement and Zoning used to be on the third floor of the courthouse.

Former county executive Mike Farmer orchestrated the department’s move to the white house.

“It cost us a lot of money,” Commissioner Ron Berry said.

Farmer told commissioners in January 2010 he didn’t want people to have to go through a “body-cavity search” to get to the third floor, although people who entered the courthouse were never subjected to such searches.

“I’m not sure he understood the situation,” Woody said. “Building permits are based on need of new construction. It’s not based on the location of the agency that inspects.”

The Codes Enforcement and Zoning Office, which is adjacent to the new jail, has a parking lot that’s empty many days during office hours.