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'95 permit on driveway puts official in hot seat

(ran West edition)

It began as a discussion about changes to the town's driveway rules and ended with a council member demanding an apology from a former candidate.

But Kenneth City activist Marie Boudreau refused to apologize to Ron Sneed, the council's newest member. Sneed and incumbent Bill Smith defeated Boudreau in the March election.

The dispute at last week's council workshop involved Sneed's driveway, which Boudreau said comes within 5 feet of his property line. The town code says no driveway can be closer than 5 feet to one's property line.

Boudreau also complained that Sneed's permit was issued after he built the driveway. To make matters worse, she said, Sneed has never come before the Board of Adjustment to ask for a variance. Boudreau serves on the board.

Sneed said he submitted the paperwork on a Wednesday. The next Friday, he said, he spoke to Tom Kincaid, then the town's building inspector.

"He told me my permit had been issued," Sneed said. "If I could not come in and pick it up, I could go ahead and start on my driveway. On Saturday and Sunday, I dug my driveway out. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the driveway was poured."

Sneed continued: "Two weeks later, Elaine Vaughn contacted me and told me my permit was purchased after the fact. I had a discussion with Elaine Vaughn at the time who was in charge after she had gone back and talked to Tom Kincaid. . . . And he told me I did not have to pay the double permit fee.

"So if I could have an apology at least from Mrs. Boudreau for saying something to me about something that was not done correctly."

Boudreau did not back down.

"You cannot obtain a permit in this city to enlarge your driveway if you are going into the easement without a variance," she said. "That variance has to come from the Board of Adjustment. I have been on the board for almost four years. I have not seen any record of you having approached the board for a variance."

Sneed said, "That is because Mr. Kincaid approved it without telling me I needed a variance."

Town records show Kincaid approved Sneed's application. However, he approved it "subject to compliance with all applicable codes and ordinances of the town of Kenneth City."

Those records show that Sneed submitted the application Aug. 11, 1995, which was a Friday. The date issued is noted as Aug. 14, 1995, the next Monday.

There are other notations indicating that Vaughn had tried to collect a $50 fee instead of the original $25 fee because the drive was started before the permit was issued and finished before the permit was picked up.

Sneed paid the $25 fee Sept. 25, 1995, according to town records.

It is unclear what could happen next, if anything.