Advisory board is experienced

Published 4:30 pm Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors hopes its new Building Code Advisory Committee will use the combined experience of its appointees to make reasonable changes to the building codes.

District V Supervisor Sandy Kane Smith said the board wants the committee to go through the codes and make amendments only to the things that are not necessary for local builders.

“We want to reduce inspections, and maybe change a few things… We know what the public are looking for in the building codes, and we hope this committee of builders can help us get there,” Smith said.

Smith’s appointment to the committee is Reese Moody, who has been a builder and general contractor all his life.

“Reese was an inspector for Hide-A-Way Lake for years, and has a knowledge of inspections and how they work. He knows what the county needs or doesn’t need,” Smith said.

Moody started out with his dad when he was in high school, and has been building for 40 or 50 years, Moody said. He has lived in Jackson Landing all his life, and runs his own business.

Moody said he hopes to modify the building codes only enough so that they fit local building needs.

“I’ve always advocated the need for building codes. It’s just that some of the ones we have now don’t fit and are a hardship on people. Our purpose is to make these codes work and try to lower the fees if possible. I think if we take a common sense approach, we’ll be okay,” Moody said.

Curt Stasny, who was appointed to the committee by District I Supervisor Anthony Hales, is the owner of Re-Steel Express in Poplarville and has lived in Poplarville since he was 10 years old.

“I’ve been in construction supply and construction-related business approximately thirty years. I currently run a multi-million dollar business that deals with contractors and blueprints daily… I think Anthony appointed me because of my experience and my day-to-day dealings with the construction field,” Stasny said.

District III Supervisor Hudson Holliday appointed Marcia Johnson, who is currently serving as the Building Inspector for the City of Poplarville.

“She’s been a homebuilder for many years and is an inspector for the City of Poplarville… I thought she would be a good choice for the committee because she deals with a lot of these building code issues every day,” Holliday said.

Johnson said she is a licensed contractor in Mississippi and Louisiana, and has been doing commercial and residential construction for 14 years.

District II Supervisor Charles Culpepper appointed Malcolm Perry to the committee.

“I’ve known Malcolm a long time. He’s been building homes for many years, and has built many homes in Pearl River County. When this committee came up, his name crossed my mind and I asked him if he would serve. I figured he would be the best one I knew, and would do a good job working with the codes,” Culpepper said.

District IV Supervisor Patrick Lee said he put a lot of thought into his appointment of Derwin Whitfield, who runs Heritage Homes.

“I spoke with several builders and citizens and did my own little poll through my district and (Whitfield’s) name kept coming up… It was not a hasty decision, but he was the most favorable out of all my choices,” Lee said.

Lee said he feels like Whitfield will be a big asset to the committee, and will be fair in his decisions about the codes.

“I don’t think he’ll be biased for or against the codes,” Lee said.

Calls to Perry and Whitfield for comment had not been returned by press time.

In addition to advising the board of supervisors about building codes, the new committee will also be assisting the board to find a replacement for Chief Building Inspector Kirk Pichon, who turned in his notice earlier this week.

“I hope they will be a help in us picking out another building inspector… It’s going to be a big decision. Mr. Pichon set the bar kind of high with all his knowledge, experience and certifications, but it’s not anything we can’t work through. I’m sure the committee will play a big role in making this decision,” Lee said.

Smith said County Planning and Development Director Ed Pinero will be working with the committee and will be temporarily overseeing the building department until a replacement for Pichon can be found.