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Building inspector: Nickle Plate Flats meets code

BY SHARON BARDONNER - sbardonner@ftimes.com

Frankfort Building Inspector Sam Payne said Friday “there’s nothing to it,” referring to an anonymous email sent to The Times Thursday alleging building code violations at the Nickel Plate Flats apartment complex currently under construction in downtown Frankfort. 

“The problem is that the Nickel Plate Flats have numerous building code violations, including areas of structural weakness and fire stairs build of wood rather than block or concrete,” the email alleged.

Payne said that the original set of blueprints submitted to the state, and recently pulled by a new office employee, called for cement steps. However, since then Iron Men Properties reapplied to the state with a modified set of blueprints, and those changes were approved by the state as required and are on file in the Building Inspector’s office.

“On that print, it calls for 2x6 wood studs, 16 inches on center, with two layers of 5/8-inch type gypsum board and 3-inch sound batt insulation,” said Payne. The new blueprints also included wooden steps and changes to the elevator shaft.

Payne said he has visited the site nearly every other day to check its progress. 

“They didn’t sweep nothing under the carpet,” he said. “My prints, their prints, they all read the same.” He also said anyone wanting to check the blueprints can see them in his office at Old Stoney.

Payne added that Jeff Wellman of the State Fire Marshal’s Office has visited the site with him and no violations were found.

The email also alleged that when Payne attempted to cite the supposed violations, Mayor Chris McBarnes called him off the effort.

“That’s absurd,” said McBarnes. “I never would tell the building inspector to cut corners.”

The design plans were sent to the state as required, with materials and other details noted, and were approved, the mayor added. 

“The email is grounded in no reality,” he said. 

“The mayor has never, ever told me to pull off or cover anything up on a project,” said Payne. “If he would, I wouldn’t be able to do this job.”

The site has also been vandalized, both McBarnes and Payne noted. Someone entered the building and pierced the water line six times, and windows have been broken out.

Payne also dispelled rumors that the siding being applied is vinyl or aluminum. He said it is Hardie board that will be caulked to seal any cracks showing. 

“Then it gets covered with five coats of paint,” he said.