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KURE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — A battle we first told you about in February continues on Pleasure Island.

A couple says Kure Beach’s building inspector is still purposely stalling their dream home.

Ann and Richard Lawing began building their dream beach house nearly a year ago. They didn’t expect this dream to turn into a nightmare.

“My wife has been upset,” Richard said. “I have been upset. We don’t sleep good.”

The Lawings transformed 242 N. 3rd Ave. in Kure Beach from a bare lot to a three-story dream home with an elevator and an ocean view. But even though the $500,000 project ended in October of last year, the family still cannot move in.

“It is just unbelievable that we can a year later be stuck be still in the same position that we have been in for a year now,” Ann said.

The couple says they fixed small items building inspector John Batson listed in February when he first refused to approve the final inspection. Now Batson says the fire place is not up to code, because it extends six inches farther then it should from the house.

“It’s an architectural feature that makes the house attractive,” Ann said. “It does not cause anybody any problems.”

The Lawings say Batson has a vendetta against them and will never be satisfied.

“He is picking on something that was passed by a mechanical inspector,” Richard said.

The Lawings say Batson never said anything was wrong with the fireplace in the building plans and is now costing them a fortune.

Kure Beach Mayor Dean Lambeth says the Lawings are good people, but the decision is up to the Board of Adjustment.

“What they say goes,” Lambeth said. “The Lawings have the right to appeal. I think they should.”

Batson declined to comment on the story.

The Lawsons expect to spend even more money resolving the issue in court.

Comment on this Story

  • GuestyB7

    I’m sure all of you would have a lot to say if the deck collapsed and people were hurt. Then it would be, “who was the inspector”? You might not agree with authority or the man himself, but he has a responsibility and he can enforce it however he pleases. Going to the news does not fix the problem, hiring a reputable licensed GC would have. It isn’t as easy as it looks.

  • Guest284

    This is the most blatant abuse of power in our area and it has been going on for years. If you are not related or a friend of Batson you are screwed. He is a bully and I hope he gets what is coming to him. Kure beach inspections department consists of Batson and Batson only. He is judge and jury. How is that for checks and balances? A building inspector with a big ego and no one to answer to. Seems like a good idea. He should stick to fishing charters, he has got to be better at that!

  • Guest _CB

    Just go down, sit at the CB Charter Fishing Docks, make a calendar of every date and time you see John Batson there at the dock, and not inside the Kure Beach City Limits during the business day on the town’s clock, hand it in to the SBI and he will be history! And you will save all of the other tax paying owners at Kure Beach from having to pay for another of many lawsuits against the famous KB town employee bullies. They target seniors for money and property all the time! Watch some Betty White Off their Rockers shows. Empower yourselves, turn them in, BE DONE WITH IT!

  • LifeIsaBeach

    A Bully with a license to Bully while other so-called civil servants are too lazy and apathetic to intervene.

    What comes around goes around….and I hope it goes around the bully and the bully’s enablers.

  • Guest123123

    My business takes me to several different counties where I have to get these building inspectors involved in the applications process. There never seems to be any conformity among them. One inspector can come in and sign off in 2 minutes without even looking around and others are trying to find things wrong. Then when those items are fixed they come back only to point out more errors. Very frustrating!!

  • Guestomfg

    How friendly would you be if the city you built your dream home treated you like crap? I am sure they feel unwelcome.

  • Guest observer 123

    I live near this couple and the man never speaks or waves back
    when you speak or wave at him. If he is as grumpy, ornery and
    unfriendly to the inspectors as he his to his neighbors, I can see
    why there are problems.

  • GuestME

    Why is this idiot still employed? This family did what he asked them to do and now he comes up with another “problem” for them to fix? Mr Batson sounds like an arrogant jerk who wants to feel important. The town better step in and fix this before it goes to court and they get sued.

  • Southern Born

    Building officials are charged under penalty of law to enforce all state, federal and local rules as they apply to permits issued, it is the contractors responsibility to comply with those rules and the building official is required under penalty of law, to enforce them, kind of of hard to enforce before it is built, and officials cannot assume they are going to do it wrong, also this sounds like a zoning rule violation, and the building official cannot override the towns zoning rules that would require a variance by law after a hearing by a Quasi Judicial Board. The problem is that people with money fill like the rules don’t apply to them like me and you. I can tell you that being a building official is no cake walk anywhere. Know there is a due process under law to appeal a building officials decision and that is through statute and must be appealed to the Building code council and will be heard within 5 days of receipt, so ask yourself why they have not pursued the proper avenue. instead they are whining to the media saying that they are bringing taxes, revenue, Blah, blah blah, we all bring that every time we trade or spend money. They are the idiots they One either hired a incompetent contractor or Two have more money than brains either way, Building codes are not local governed, building inspections is the only required service by law as the codes are STATE LAW>>> but some people like to stomp around and act like building officials are sitting around their basements and making up rule, not true not allowed ask Brunswick County… So I say from your comments you are the idiot, the building official just looks like he is doing his job.. no green sticker bandit here give him a raise he is doing his job even under intense scrutiny…. also I believe he has the slander suit at this juncture not the owner of the non conforming property. I would encourage him to pursue…maybe you can be his expert witness?

  • wilm nc here

    hi i sure if you put some hard / yes hard money in his pocket. not soft money. . that way u get the house passed. money speaks or talks

  • Guest Reply Redux

    Fix It!!!

  • Baily

    While the home was being built I saw a “For Sale By Owner” sign out front for quite a while. Was this really a dream home or a spec home ;) ?

  • antithug

    Batson sounds like a real piece of……..

  • Not Politically Correct

    If it’s not up to code it’s not up to code. Plain and simple. Wouldnt it be the contractors fault? I believe it is. Unless the homeowner was the general contractor. Then they need to fix their screw up.

  • Guest28401

    Owner was the GC.

  • Brian

    If the plans were approved, permits issued, and the house built according to the plans, then I say they should file a civil suit against Batson personally.

  • Guest28401

    Fireplace was NOT shown on the approved plans!

  • Guest guest observer 123

    I have lived near this couple many years before they started this

  • Bully11

    Do you have a copy of the Brunswick county code book? I have been using the NC Residential code and that doesn’t apply there for some reason. Batson is a bully and I sure hope he gets what he has coming. He gives everyone but his friends and family a hard time. The most blatant abuse of power in our area. He literally has no one to answer to. No checks and balances for the Kure Beach inspections department. He is judge and jury. If you don’t believe it, go pull a permit. Good luck and enjoy the ride!! He should probably stick to fishing. He has got to be better at that!

  • Southern Born

    He answers to North Carolina Department of Insurance,NCDOI Call 910-661-5880 file a complaint they will investigate and if he is wrong they will prosecute, if he has improperly used his authority or not done his job.. There it is stop whining, unless he hasn’t done anything wrong and well this is just BI abuse by another person who doesn’t like following the rules.

  • KB

    Garbage carts have also been vandalized in Kure Beach, which appears it forces owners to pay the town for a new one OR not have their trash picked up. Is this legal? Who has authority to investigate public works Director Sonny Beeker ?


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