Editorial: Framework for growth
Many citizens never have personal dealings with building codes enforcement officials and inspectors. For them, it’s an “out of sight, out of mind” division, but business owners and developers depend on the department to help them navigate the bureacratic maze of local, state and federal regulations. They know how critical a responsive, efficient codes enforcement department is if the county wants to present a truly “open for business” atmosphere in highly challenging times.
Give local officials - the county and city managers and Chamber of Commerce - credit for moving decisively to resolve problems in the codes enforcement office when it became clear that developers had longstanding complaints about the department's operation. After the dismissal of inspections chief Dana Hart earlier this year, the county has now hired local architect and Rowan native Pete Bogle to revamp the department and its procedures.
County officials have high expections that Bogle can turn around perception, as well as performance, and he brings several positives to the drawing board, as indicated by the initial favorable reviews of his hiring. As an architect coming from the private sector, he's familiar with the regulatory hurdles confronting builders and contractors. As a Rowan native, he's well versed in local growth issues and has a longterm stake in seeing the county flourish. Bogle's background makes him well-suited for a role where he needs to work with the business community while also maintaining strong regulatory protections.
The Rowan Chamber of Commerce helped instigate this change by serving as a conduit between developers and local officials, and County Manager Gary Page and Salisbury City Manager Doug Paris appear to be on the same page by working together and exploring ways that Salisbury might further expedite code enforcement and inspections within its own boundaries. Let's hope that cooperative approach continues.
These kinds of transitions are never entirely smooth, and striking the right balance between regulatory enforcement and encouraging growth is no simple task. But with Bogle at the helm and other changes in the works, local government looks to have a firmer foundation for future development in Rowan.