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OFFICIAL DENIES TOWN LAXITY IN ENFORCEMENT CLARENCE ANSWERS CRITIC ON PLUMBING INSPECTIONS

Charges that Clarence is lax in enforcing its plumbing ordinance have been rejected by a town building official, who called them "exaggerated misinformation."

Thomas O. Meyers, senior building inspector and code enforcement officer, took issue with comments made by Daniel Loudenslager, chairman of the Clarence Plumbing Board, at a Town Board meeting last month.

In a plea for the town to hire a plumbing inspector, Loudenslager, a plumber by trade, said that contractors routinely violate the plumbing ordinance.

Plumbing inspections are made by town building inspectors, who already have enough to do enforcing building codes, he said.

Meyers said the town Building Department also would like to see a plumbing inspector hired, but that Loudenslager's statements were "very misleading and . . . an insult to the dedication and hard work of employees."

Violations aren't "commonplace," Meyers said. "This is another exaggeration. There have been only two builders of late . . . that the Plumbing Board feels are abusing the regulations."

As an example of enforcement problems, Loudenslager last month told the Town Board that he installed plumbing connections backward in a new home and that the work passed inspection.

But Meyers recounted a different version of the "backwards plumbing" incident, which he said involved outside drainage lines, not inside plumbing.

Meyers said that when he arrived at the house lot for a scheduled inspection last July 21, he refused to inspect the outside drainage lines because an unlicensed subcontractor was on the job instead of Loudenslager, the licensed plumbing contractor.

"The (drainage lines) weren't even installed by (Loudenslager), the licensed contractor, as required by the town's plumbing ordinance," Meyers said in a written report to the Town Board last week.

The ordinance requires a town-licensed plumber to do the work, or to directly supervise the work of a subcontractor, Meyers explained.

Loudenslager, who was "very irate," later called for a new inspection appointment, Meyers said. "When I arrived (Loudenslager) again asked if I had inspected the work," Meyers told town officials.

"I told him that I had not and that I had already been through this with him and the subcontractor. He then angrily told me that the subcontractor had put the pipe and other connections in backwards and it all had to be torn out and done over," Meyers wrote in his written account of the incident.

Meyers said the work was redone correctly and that he approved it last July 26.

"I cannot remain quiet without responding to such misleading information," he said. "It depicts a negative attitude and reflects a hopeless situation.

"Our building inspectors are dedicated employees who attend educational classes to increase their knowledge so as to upgrade the department," Meyers added.

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