Developers: Meck Co. code enforcement inefficient, hurts economy

by: Tenikka Smith Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte and Mecklenburg County could be missing out on new development and jobs and builders said the county's code enforcement office is to blame.

Commissioner Pat Cotham said she's been hearing complaints from developers about inefficiency and even bad attitudes in Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement for more than a year.
"I've talked to big developers and investors who say, 'This is it, I'm no longer dealing with Mecklenburg County,'"  Cotham said. "We've got to be open for business."
Cotham and other commissioners have been in touch with the Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition. Executive Director Joe Padilla has also been fielding complaints from frustrated developers who claim they are running into delays and inconsistencies with the inspection and permitting process.
"What we're seeing is developers being asked to meet basically a moving goal line, where every time that inspector comes out there are new issues raised, new problems raised," Padilla said.
Padilla said builders are forced to put projects on hold and some are taking their business elsewhere.
"Those are families that didn't get jobs and it hurts our economy," Cotham said.
City and county leaders are working together to identify problems and streamline the process.

Later this week, Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon may propose a plan that could include a joint operation where the county and city would work together with one inspector.

County Manager Dena Diorio told Channel 9 on Monday she's conducting a top to bottom review of county code enforcement and giving her staff 30 days to develop a plan of action.
"We don't want our code enforcement function to be a barrier for any business that wants to be here and if that's the perception we need to fix that and if that's the fact, we need to fix that," Diorio said.
Channel 9 expects to learn more about the county manager's investigation into code enforcement at Tuesday's county commission meeting.