Jackson yet to receive plans for county building

Wednesday, June 9, 2004

Jackson city officials are still waiting for building plans from Cape Girardeau County officials on the recently renovated public defender office.

A memo outlining the "final update" on the building code conflict was passed out at Monday night's Jackson Board of Aldermen meeting.

Offices for public defenders were moved earlier this year to the building that used to house the sheriff's department and the old jail.

County and city officials have disagreed on whether the county is obligated to conform to city building codes. In February, Jackson fire chief Brad Golden approached the commission, outlining why city codes are important to firefighter and public safety.

The county granted the city permission to look at the building, and city inspectors found six code violations in an informal walk-through. The inspectors could not do a thorough inspection, however, because the county did not provide plans of the building.

A short time after the informal inspection, building and grounds superintendent Don McQuay said he contacted the architect and that the city would have the plans soon.

According to the memo from Golden and building and planning superintendent Janet Sanders, "no plans have ever been submitted. ... Although the county states that all required issues have been addressed, we were never able to completely review the project."

When asked about the issue Tuesday, Commissioner Joe Gambill, who oversees the county's buildings and grounds, said he thought the issue had been resolved.

"As far as I knew, they were all happy," Gambill said.

When asked if the county took issue with providing plans, Gambill said, "We didn't actually draw plans. We just put partition walls in."

McQuay did not return a phone message left at his office Tuesday.

In February, he said the county was in the process of addressing the issues that inspectors found, including inadequate fire extinguishers, exit signs and emergency lighting.

On May 11, after not receiving the plans, the city sent a letter to Jones saying, "The remodeling is apparently complete and the new offices have been occupied. Therefore, this is in violation of the City of Jackson building codes."

The county has argued it does not need permits from the city. In recent years, Jackson began charging no fees to the county for inspections or permits. However, the city feels it is obligated to inspect all construction projects.

bmiller@semissourian.com

243-6635

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