Letter to Spencer Aldermen

and Mayor Gettys

August 22, 1994


Will it take 25 years to fix the code enforcement problem?



August 22, 1994


Buddy Gettys, Mayor

Steve Leary, Town Manager

Carol Orthel, Chair Person, Planning Board

All Spencer Alderman

Zoning Officer


In reference to the special meeting of the Town Alderman regarding the building of several new structures on Iredell Avenue and Third and Gobble Streets,  I am not satisfied with the decision that the structures on Iredell meet code.  There is no doubt that the Third Street structures do not.  To refresh everyone's memory, the contractors that were at the meeting kept placing the responsibility on the town manager and zoning officer.  They claimed that one or both of them specifically placed the stake as to where to start building.  They (the contractors) claimed there was no recorded right of way and that the zoning exception allowed  the setback requirement measurement to be started 15 feet off of the pavement.  This was a gross mistake by the contractors and most all contractors know by experience that you begin all measurements at the beginning of your property.  The corner of the last lot is CLEARLY marked with a corner stake that was placed there many years ago and CLEARLY marks the beginning of their property and the beginning of city right of way.  There was no excuse for the contractors to even include the city officers to mark the city right of way.  I think that the contractors have taken advantage of the city officers in/experience in this manner.  The lot dimensions are CLEARLY recorded at the Register of Deeds Office from previous surveys and CLEARLY show the city right of way.  That is clearly the responsibility of the contractor's surveyor.  It is also my understanding from a neighbor of that area that the survey was done prior to the foundation being poured, and a town Alderman called to the attention of one of the contractors that the houses DID NOT meet code. 


The contractors knew they were going to build three structures.  The last structure should have totally met the setback code of forty feet.  The first structure should have been setback 1/2 of the legal setback which is 20 feet off of a surveyed stake (which they had).  The middle structure should then be setback an average between the first and third structure, which would be 30 feet off the surveyed stake (which they had).   The first structure is less than 15 feet from the property line.

The structures on Third Street and Gobble Street have the same problems.  The contractors, I am sure,  knew they were going to build three structures.  The corner lot structure should have first met corner lot zoning requirements, which is a setback of forty feet from surveyed stakes on both side yard and front yard.  The other two structures should have front yard setbacks by averaging the setback of the new corner structure and the two adjacent old structures,  ie. the old house facing Gobble Street and the old house facing Third Street.  These old houses are within 100 feet of the lots on which  the new structures are being built.


With the emphasis the town has placed on zoning compliance, upgrading old structures, mowing grass, keeping rental property decent, I think it would be a gross miscarriage of justice to allow the completion and occupation by renters or owners of  any of the above structures.  How can the city lawfully and in good conscience force some people  to tear houses down to comply with the code and allow others to build new structures and set a precedence for future construction that DOES  NOT meet zoning code?


Danny Patterson




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The more we knee jerk the

 more we stay the same

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