In This Issue
It is an exciting time in the Development Services Department. I arrived as director in July 2017, having served in a previous role in Currituck County, N.C. It has been remarkable to be part of a professional and dynamic staff that is able to keep up with the rapid pace of development in our community.
In Fiscal Year 2017, Asheville’s Development Services Department opened more than 11,000 new records and performed more than 51,000 inspections, with a total construction value of $657 million. Through it all, staff and the development community has worked together to ensure that continued growth and investment in Asheville is safe, consistent with community goals and has a lasting economic impact.
The Development Service Department has many initiatives under way, including one that will transform how customers interact with our department. Feedback from recent surveys indicates electronic submittal of plans and applications is the top priority of our customers. In response, we are excited to launch the first phase of our commitment to moving toward a fully digital submittal and review process. In January 2018, the department will begin testing the digital submittal of Level I, II and III projects. This includes site development plans that are typically reviewed prior to a project moving forward with building permits. It's only the first step in revamping how development applications are submitted, but one that adds tremendous value and time savings to our customers.
Our department continues to focus on providing outstanding customer service and managing a development review process that is efficient, predictable, and transparent. I look forward to working with the staff to be responsive to your needs and continuously improve our service delivery.
City of Asheville Development Services Director
Name and title: Russell Roe, Housing Code Coordinator for the City of Asheville Development Services Department.
How he helps customers at DSD:
My primary duty is to investigate complaints about violations of the Minimum Housing Code. These complaints typically come from tenants who believe that their landlords are not taking proper care of their buildings. I help by facilitating communication and especially by making sure that both landlords and tenants understand what the minimum housing requirements are.
In addition to housing code issues, I also respond to complaints about abandoned, unsecured and dilapidated buildings. Many citizens are concerned about ugly or unsafe buildings in their neighborhoods. I work closely with the Legal Department in making sure that vacant buildings are secure and safe.
I just started this job in March 2017, so right now my biggest challenge is to learn as much as I can about the codes. This doesn’t just include the Minimum Housing Code per se, but also the relevant parts of the Building, Residential, Electrical, Mechanical and Plumbing codes.
Most rewarding part of the job:
I love learning new skills, so I’m really appreciative of the fact that I’ve been given the opportunity to take code enforcement classes, as well as have new on-the-job experiences.
Tenants are often very upset about their situations when they first call me. It is extremely rewarding where I am able to take a bad situation and make it into a good one where all parties are happy in the end.
Helpful tip for DSD customers:
The Housing Line is 828-259-5764, and it rings on my desk! Anyone who has a Minimum Housing Code complaint, who has questions about the Minimum Housing Code, or who has concerns about a vacant building should call this number.
Housing Line: 828-259-5764
Twice a year, we survey you, our customers to see how we are doing, find out where we can improve and chart awareness of some of our services.
This survey shows results from the first and third quarters of 2017. Note the comparisons, trends in how we are doing.
One of the most telling parts of the survey is at the end, under “Initiatives.” Clearly, our customers want electronic submittal of plans and applications. We heard you! Software developed for this purpose in the fourth quarter 2017 is being tested this first quarter 2018. Stay tuned for rollout information, coming soon!
We also made gains in improved checklists and applications. Continuous improvement is a stated core value of the City of Asheville.
Did you know that the Development Services Department offers training opportunities for professional development? Classes are held in the first floor conference room (unless noted otherwise) at the City of Asheville Public Works Building, 161 S Charlotte St.
Here is a list of upcoming classes. Find more at this link: 2018 Continuing Education Schedule.
|February 13 & 20||1 - 4 p.m.||Mechanical Code Class||$65|
|March 12-13 (Stephens Lee Center)||6 - 10 p.m.||National Electrical Code (NEC) Class for Contractors||$80|
|April 3 & 10||1 - 4 p.m.||Building Code Class||$65|
|May 8 & 15||1 - 4 p.m.||Plumbing Code Class||$65|
|June 12 & 19||1 - 4 p.m.||Electrical Code Class||$65|
For class registration or more information, contact Misty Lipe at 828-259-5658 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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City of Asheville Development Services Department
Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
161 S. Charlotte Street