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KURE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington couple spent months building their dream home in Kure Beach. They were happy to finally complete the house late last year, but they say their struggle with the town’s building inspector has left the house empty and their blood boiling.

“We’ve done everything we know to do to make this house perfect,” Ann Lawing said.

She and her husband Richard built a three-story, $500,000 home on North 3rd Ave. in Kure Beach last year with hopes of one day moving in. But for months now, they’ve waited for approval of a final inspection. That green light must come from town building inspector John Batson, but the Lawings say Batson is creating hurdles and targeting them.

“He said it didn’t have a plot plan. I’ve given him the plot plan. Now all of a sudden he comes up with a half dozen other little odds and ends that need to be done,” Ann said.

They say Batson’s vendetta against them started last June. That’s when they say Batson was checking the windows and used his hand to hit an impact-resistant window from inside the home.

“It just shattered,” Ann said. “The top sash just shattered.”

The Lawings reported the issue to the town and asked for a $300 reimbursement to repair the window.

Since then, they say Batson has refused to approve the final inspection because of things such as a well casing in the backyard and a small bush he says blocks the right of way in front of the home.

Richard Lawing is a licensed builder and says if anyone should know how to follow a building code, it’s him.

“From Pine Valley, you name it, I’ve been there,” he said. “This island has 15, 20, 30 of my homes I’ve built down in here.”

Mayor Dean Lambeth says he knows the Lawings are good people and is disappointed that the issue has not been resolved.

“I hope they work it out before it goes to court, but I’m sure it will go to court if it continues to go the way it’s going,” Lambeth said.

We tried to contact John Batson for his side of the story. He has not returned our calls.

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19 Comments on "Couple says Kure Beach building inspector’s vendetta stalling dream home"

2015 years 9 months ago

Has a complaint been filed with NCDOI COQB; if not email me, I have a copy of the form I used to file a complaint that I can send you!

Jim Wiseman
2015 years 9 months ago

when someone is given power and can’t handles it.

been there
2015 years 9 months ago

Most building inspector are failed contractors.

2015 years 9 months ago

Kure Beach building inspector John Batson was hired when he was 19 years old about 5 years ago, he might be 25 now.

2015 years 9 months ago

Building inspectors can be absolute jerks sometimes. If for some reason, no matter how small or trivial, you get on their bad side they can make your life miserable, as is apparently the case here. They sometimes think they are at the top of the food chain and above answering to anyone about their actions whether right or wrong. It sometimes takes legal action to get things straightened out. That’s not to say that they are all bad but my experience with inspectors at CB/KB in years past is much the same as these folks are experiencing and they are not the only ones who have had issues with this guy.

Fall in line
2015 years 9 months ago

There’s a small clique with him, and 5 other town employees. They will take turns hitting you with little stuff, here and there, pulling you over, generally annoying so you won’t make waves about them out running their fishing charter on the town’s clock.

2015 years 9 months ago

not surprized.. The state has suspended him before..

2015 years 9 months ago

So instead of just paying for the damage the town representative caused, they will drag their feet until the Lawings sue. Then the town will not only pay the damages, they will also pay legal fees for the Lawings. Brilliant.

Justin America
2015 years 9 months ago

an individual keeping me from moving into a $500,000 home I built, you would never be able to reach the individual for a phone interview. Think about that for a second Today John Batson. Or, maybe a nice fire. Yes, a nice fire. Collect the 1.5 x the replacement value and leave a smoldering eyesore for John and his cronies to inspect. Be creative, like John. Just move in anyway. Tell him you just joined the occupy movement. Or that you are now a sovereign citizen, or an undocumented foreign national… you may be able to stay in the house unmolested forever.

Dan from Wilmington
2015 years 9 months ago

Come on man, these fine folks have invested over a half million dollars to become members of Kure Beach community, pay taxes and be a productive family in the community. Building inspector needs to be fired in this continues. Why can’t the mayor simply instruct the building inspector to get this solved asap or lose his job. This is an obvious case of gov’t employee throwing his weight around, at the expense of the tax paying citizen.

Home....Sweet ---- ..He**
2015 years 9 months ago

Kure Beach does not need an inspector beyond what New Hanover County inspections provides. This guy got hired during the building boom and hasn’t been needed. He is never there. WWAY you can likely find him at the fishing dock on his charter boat if he doesn’t answer his phone.

2015 years 9 months ago

These fine folks may have invested over a half a million dollars to join the kure beach club, but everyone has to follow the rules, especially when building a house of that magnitude. You have to follow the rules on the road or you get a ticket dont you? If you got a ticket or an infraction for not following the law would you rant and rave and demand the mayor to fire that police officer if he didnt rip up that ticket just because you were a good tax paying citizen of Kure Beach? Rules are rules and they are made for a reason. There is a code out there just like there are laws out there that we have to follow. There are officers that enforce the road laws and there are building inspectors that enforce the code. Its really simple. Its not about having to much power. It a simple fact of standing for whats right and following the rules. There is something admiriable in standing up for what you believe in.

Justin America
2015 years 9 months ago

Thank you so much government employee. How about firing him for not doing his job? Admire me for standing up for what I believe in. I also believe my property is a Unicorn farm and I should get a Federal subsidy. The rules are out there, you should follow them. Good luck.

2015 years 9 months ago

This building inspector is a loser. He is your typical power hungry government employee bureaucrat.

Jim Thomas
2015 years 9 months ago

I hope WWAY and the local papers are following these comments. There are at least three great stories here, and a rat’s nest of local corruption to clean up. I’d love to see them make an example of this guy.

Guestfor you
2015 years 9 months ago

Corruption? By that you mean that these NICE people are trying to get him to do something that goes against the current code and against his training? You mean that these nice people should just get their inspection passed just because this old man USED to be a building inspector, and supposedly knows everything about the current code? He is only doing his job and these people want him to look the other way and sign on the dotted line just so they can have their house regardless if they have issues they need to fix. There are codes and rules in place for a reason and they are there to be upheld not to be broken.
Id love to see an example made of these homeowners who obviously are trying to work the system to their benifit and utilize the good ole boy system still in place today.

2015 years 9 months ago

He might be with a Lt. from the police department. If he isn’t speeding up to Carolina Beach, that is.

Guest 1492
2015 years 9 months ago

A certain officer who seeems to have the eternal blessing of someone immediately over him. Wonder what they have on each other.

2015 years 9 months ago

Aparently you have not tried to get something done that requires approval of someone who knows less than you. I refuse to work past the bridge ONLY because of this problem on the Island. When a bush can be pulled up it two minutes and it takes a week to replace windows.Easy fixes,week tops Yet a refusal to sighn off IS the DISCRETION of the inspector,speaking from my own work on the Island If you so much as hint at being unpleased your failed. What do you do? Move in and wait for the state to evict you then you get a county/state/HOA inspection and its over.I think you have the definition of the good ole boy network backwards. Thats when the judge knows your lawer that gets you off or the inspector knows the contractor and LET’S HIM SLIDE. Or the ambulance and cops know the guy driving and you got hit at 1am but the tickets say 11:30 so he keeps his paper license


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