New building commissioner a local native

Brown County’s new building commissioner got his formal introduction to the public at the Jan. 7 county commissioners meeting.

A 1984 graduate of Vincennes University, Lonnie Farlee is a Brown County native with

30 years experience as an architectural draftsman and project manager. He worked for Odle-Burke Architects and then Miller Architects before going into business for himself in 2005.

“I have lived in Brown County my whole life,” Farlee said. “My father’s from Bloomington, but my mother’s a Kelp — she was born and raised here.”

During the interim when

the county had no building commissioner, Farlee helped fill in by doing building inspections, Planning Commission Director David Woods said.

Woods hired Farlee but said he consulted members of the Area Plan Commission for their input and requested to have Farlee go before the commissioners as a courtesy.

The commissioners received Farlee warmly.

Farlee told the commissioners and audience that his top concern was to do what he can to help the public — whether businesses working on large projects or individuals working on smaller projects — navigate and understand regulations and building codes that will impact them when seeking a building permit.

He asked that people be patient with him as he adjusts to working on the government side of things. He worked with the permit and inspection process in the past, but his only experience working on the government side was during his time filling in for former Building Commissioner Dan Harden during his medical leave.

Farlee rattled off a list of requirements, such as Disabilities Act compliance, parking and firewalls, when he talked about the customer side of dealing with building permits and codes.

However, he said he will need to expand his knowledge of codes and regulations he hasn’t handled before.

Farlee said he will need to review less-commonly relevant codes before getting his state certification. He also said that it will take time to learn the office procedures, but that other people in the Planning Commission and in the county government have been a tremendous help.

“I just look forward to helping the county out — and that’s what I plan to do: just help people out, help them to be able to, if they have questions, understand it and just make it easier for them when they’re building.”

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Ben Kibbey is a Brown County transplant from the cornfields of central Ohio. He covers county government, business, outdoors, sports and general news.