A Johnston County man lost his appeal before county commissioners this week. Derek Ball appealed a stop work order first issued in 2014 on a building at his home at 250 Willis Run, Garner.
The Johnston County Inspections Department said Ball was building a barn without a permit, however Ball contended the barn was already in place when he bought the property nearly 15 years ago and was simply trying to make repairs.
Brandon Corbett, a county building inspector, said a complaint was received by a neighbor about Ball building without a permit in March 2014. In April 2014, Ball was mailed a letter which went undelivered. That same month, the inspections department had a deputy sheriff hand deliver a stop work order to Ball.
Corbett said Ball came to the inspections office to obtain a permit but learned the building was approximately 5 foot off the property line and would not meet the minimum setback from the planning department of 10 foot from any side property line. Corbett said a building permit could not be issued for a structure in violation of the minimum setback requirements.
Ball told commissioners the building was already in place when he purchased the land and he was simply trying to replace an aging roof and close in the sides of the barn to store his tractor and a 1960’s model truck. Ball admitted to pouring a concrete floor and upgrading the roof saying he wanted to make it look better. He said he was unable to continue working on the building because of the county’s stop work order.
Dean Barbour, Director of the Inspections Department, said the barn in his opinion was more like a residential garage. “If it is walks like a duck it’s a garage,” he told commissioners.
Ball said someone in his community had a similar building one foot off the property line and questioned why the county was only targeting him. Ball reiterated he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong since the structure was already existing. He said he didn’t mind working with inspectors and obtaining a permit but did not want to be forced to tear the building down.
Following the hearing, commissioners ruled to uphold the stop work order issued by the inspections department . The board recommended Ball work with the Johnston County Planning Office and Johnston County Board of Adjustments in seeking a waiver on the setback from the property line. (Building photos courtesy Johnston County Inspections)