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Couple says Kure Beach building inspector's vendetta stalling dream home


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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