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Commissioners seek public input on potential building department

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ELYRIA — Lorain County commissioners are considering the creation of a county building department.

The commissioners said the department would help enforce building code violations and monitor residential and commercial building projects in the unincorporated areas of the county.

County Administrator Jim Cordes said there is a definite need for the department because of growth in development projects and Lorain County’s status as the ninth-largest county in the state.

A public hearing will be held 5:30 p.m. Aug. 27 so residents can learn about the plan, ask questions and voice concerns.

“We felt it was important to protect consumers and to provide a safer place for families. We want to make sure everything is done properly,” Commissioner Matt Lundy said about creating the department. “It’s the right thing to do and it’s the responsible thing to do.”

Commissioner Sharon Sweda, who has experience with real estate, construction and development, said she has seen issues arise when developers don’t have to answer to a larger authority.

“I’ve seen problems from the ground up, from the footers to the foundations to the basements,” she said. “Those (are) kinds of problems that occur in the construction phase.”

Commissioner Lori Kokoski, who also has experience with real estate, agreed with Sweda, saying a county building department would help level the playing field for new projects.

Lundy said he knows that there will be some form of pushback from the public, but he hopes residents understand the department will improve the safety and quality of buildings in the county.

Engineering firm CT Consultants will help commissioners plan for the department, which commissioners said will take at least three years to form.

A second public hearing is scheduled at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 1.

Contact Bruce Walton at (440) 329-7123 or bwalton@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Facebook @BWalton440 or Twitter @BruceWalton.
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