Stonaker on the air at WTLS Radio
Stonaker talks about new job, ongoing projects
By Michael Butler
John Stonaker took over as city inspector in December. Stonaker assumed the duties when building official Dan Woods stepped down to pursue a position with the State of Alabama. Woods worked at City Hall for two and a half years.
First off is the question, which is it? Inspector or Building Official?
"Inspector," said Stonaker. "There's certain paperwork that I have to put Official. Everybody knows who the inspector is. It's easier to say inspector."
Stonaker said the job is mostly about inspections on new construction or remodels.
"You answer questions from the public on what they should have permits for along with code enforcement and trying to clean up areas that are parts of town that everybody wants to complain about but nobody wants to do anything about," he said. "You have to deal with people that own those properties in the right way. It is their property. Sometimes people don't know what the law states or what the ordinance says. You have to explain that to them. You try to talk to people like you'd want to be spoken to and try not to beat them down because you have the authority."
There are areas in Tallassee with issues.
"These are places where people may not have kept up a yard or a business that's no longer in business, yet they didn't clean up when they left. It could be where houses have been vacant for a while and vandals have done things."
The International Building Code is the letter of the law in many municipalities and Tallassee is not excluded.
"There are some things in there that are going a little too far," Stonaker added. "They're also there to protect people and protect from the people that are doing the work for them. Most people that do this work do it right, because they want the next person to call them."
There are some business projects that are currently taking place in Tallassee.
"At the old NAPA building or Chevy place (now Tallassee Automotive), they're building a new facade for their Chrysler building," Stonaker noted. "They're completely remodeling that building. When they're done there, they'll be moving to the Ford building."
In addition, there are three new businesses coming to East Tallassee.
"There's a used car business coming to what we know as the old oil well or Hafa Dozen Donuts, it Tate Automotive. Main Street Transmission is opening directly across the street from A.C.T.S. Sunny Automotive Machine is being opened across from the old Zippy Mart."
As for the Patton Plaza Shopping Center that was occupied by Winn Dixie before it closed and Walmart and Dollar General before relocations, there is activity as well.
"It looks like it's going to be a rather large, nice gym. I spoke with Shannon Graham and Mark Cullars. They've done a lot of work in there already."
Stonaker and his wife Debbie, who own GameDay Clips just next door, are interested in seeing commerce back in the shopping center.
"That creates a stir, anytime you get a business into a vacant store. I hope we can get some more businesses in there because that, 'If they can do it, maybe I can too.'"