By Carol Bartold, Senior Reporter
Oct. 3, 2018: Bronxville welcomes Paul Taft, new building inspector, who replaces Vince Pici in the village’s building department. Taft, who began his tenure on September 17, comes to Bronxville from the Town of North Salem, where he served for five years first as assistant building inspector and then as building inspector.
A contractor for 35 years before joining the public service sector, Taft did work primarily on residential properties, older homes in particular. His association with his local building inspector in South Salem, a hamlet in the Town of Lewisboro, led to his move out of private business
“I’ve always been the type of person who paid attention to the proper codes in my contracting business,” Taft said. Taking his wife’s suggestion, he trained as a code enforcement official through all courses offered and required by the New York State Division of Building Standards. That certification and a recommendation from his South Salem contact helped Taft secure his position as assistant building inspector for North Salem.
As the building inspector for the Village of Bronxville, Taft will process all building permits and work with the planning board and the zoning board of appeals to enforce zoning and planning codes. He will also assist Village Administrator Jim Palmer and consultant BFJ Planning with the reworking of the village comprehensive plan. “I see myself being of the most use in helping everyone understand new codes or new requirements that have come about,” Taft said.
Taft explained that building codes stipulate minimum requirements and that, in theory, all municipalities within the State of New York work by the same codes, with some differences that take geographic features into consideration. “Our building codes allow for buildings that pre-exist code changes,” he noted. “I find that’s something that’s sometimes misunderstood.” He said that misunderstanding tends to arise when a house is put up for sale and an inspection report indicates the house is not up to current code. “I cringe a bit because I understand that the house, as it exists, does not need to be upgraded.”
Taft stated that he’s also working with the village to hold educational events that will help residents understand code requirements and what to expect when they file an application for a building permit, as well as cover broader topics such as disaster preparedness.
“I find that if I can focus on communicating well, that’s always the best thing,” Taft said. “I enjoy the interaction with people. That’s definitely the best part of the job, and I’m here to help.”
Pictured here: Paul Taft.
Photo by A. Warner