P&Z's Moore enforces with a smile

November 28, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

Shawn Moore has donated his spare time to conflict resolution. Now, it's part of his job.

He has nine months on the job as enforcement officer for Danville-Boyle County Planning and Zoning.

Most days he spends reviewing sign or building permits, watching the geography of the county change as new houses and businesses are built and old ones come down, and making sure that signs aren't in the right-of-way but are in keeping with what the applicants promised.

He once was a volunteer mediator for the Better Business Bureau. Sometimes the parties could get heated, but Moore said it was all about people skills. Of all the cases he took on, Moore said there were only two that he couldn't settle without the parties going to court.

"I just like interacting with people I like to help," he said.

Settling disputes and helping people are what drive Moore.

"I don't like being the person to tell someone they're violating the ordinance," he said. "I just want to get them into compliance."


In nine months, he said, he hasn't had a single altercation.

"It's all in how you treat people, how you talk to them," he said.

Moore believes everyone needs to be treated with respect. If someone is upset, he listens, acknowledges their frustration, and tries to look for a solution.

Most days, however, his role is pretty routine. He looks at building permits and makes sure that what is being built complies with the property's zoning. He makes sure that the setbacks from property lines are correct.

"You wouldn't like it if someone built something 20 feet onto your property," he said, justifying why it is necessary for a third party to look at construction projects.

But, it isn't all about building.

On a recent afternoon, he went to the vacant Denny's building. It was to be demolished the next day. Moore walked around the building with a Global Positioning System to take coordinates of the footers. The information will serve as a record for the county.

Moore remembered having a Thanksgiving meal there once when he couldn't make it to his relatives' house.

Came to Danville in 1976

Moore's family came to Danville in 1976 when his father got a job as safety and security manager at Whirlpool. Other than a 10-year stint in the Navy, Moore has never left. While in the service, he and his wife, Debbie, lived in a suburb north of Chicago.

"I couldn't see raising my children there," he said.

At first, his wife wasn't convinced they should come to Danville. Then they moved here, and she found a circle of friends.

"Now, I don't think I could get her out of here," Moore said, laughing.

They're raising two kids, a 17-year-old son and a 14-year-old daughter. For years, Moore owned Bunny's Moving and Storage but said insurance was so high after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 that he decided to close it down.

For a while, he worked from home doing telephone sales. Then he drove trucks, but he was only home four days a week, and he didn't have the kind of interaction with people that he likes so well.

He saw an ad for the enforcement job at P&Z. He got the job, and it seems to be a perfect fit.

"I enjoy coming to work every day; what I do is important to the community," he said.

He understands why some people think P&Z might not be necessary, but said, "If you build a beautiful $400,000 home, you don't want someone putting a $60,000 home next door with a chicken coop

"You look at other communities in Kentucky that don't have P&Z and you realize that (Boyle) is a beautiful county, a great place to live."

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