The mayor of Dunlap says he regrets the escalating conflict over property rights in his southeast Tennessee town.
“I hate anything like this, in a community — I don’t like it. It’s not something I look forward to.”
By David Tulis / Noogaradio 1240 AM 101.1 FM
Thomas and Carol Gaddy face claims of criminal contempt as court and city demand a search and inspection of their house. Mrs. Gaddy spent two nights in jail already under a contempt order by a circuit court judge in a hotly worded hearing.
Jail is promised if they don’t comply.
Asked what the dispute is about, Mayor Dwain Land, who swore the initial complaint in early 2015, defers to a city property official.
“I would have to check with the code enforcer, Mr. Bill Dennis. I don’t know if today if they have tried to comply, the building permit or not. I don’t even know. Because I can’t keep up to date on all the permits. *** If you add on to your house or if you build a deck that exceeds a certain amount, you have to buy a permit. But I know back when the litigation started there was not a permit purchased. I don’t know if that has been purchased since.”
The conflict goes beyond merely the refusal to buy a permit for renovation, he says.
The second issue: The house is in a floodway. “There are different zones of flooding. There are floodways — that’s the worst one. There are certain things you have to comply by if to build or rebuild or add on or anything of the sort, there’re certain procedures that has to be followed.”
The Gaddys live in the city and have to follow “rules and regulations. We all live in the city, and we have to abide by those rules,” Mr. Land says. But in the county only FEMA flood rules would apply, because there is no zoning or building permit rules. Inspector Dennis is “very easy to work with. There has been very few instances in the 7 ½ years past that I’ve been mayor that anyone’s had to go to the board of zoning appeals” in a dispute with the inspector.