Marietta Councilman admits to violating building codes - CBS46 News

Marietta Councilman admits to violating building codes

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MARIETTA, GA (CBS46) -

The Forest Hills community in Marietta is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, filled with homes built in the 1920s.

"The entire neighborhood, Forest Hills, are very quaint cottages," resident Sarah Kruger said.

Not much has changed in the subdivision over the years, until now.

"Our property does not look like it belongs next to a house like this nor does any other house in Forest Hills," Kruger said.

Residents were stunned when they say a contractor built a new home in the neighborhood nearly 7 feet above normal and out of code.

That same builder also constructed a carport at another home down the street which residents say is not zoned for new construction at all.

"It's just wrong. We all have to follow the same guidelines, the same zoning ordinances," Kruger said.

Their shock turned to anger when they learned the builder is Griffin Chalfant, a member of the Marietta city council.

"When you're a councilman for as long as he's been, how do you not know what the rules are? But he's asking the city to forgive it and let it stand," neighborhood association vice president Diane Carter said.

"It was all honest mistakes and the same kind of mistakes city planning makes," builder and council member Griffin Chalfant said.

Chalfant told the city's planning and zoning board that he was unaware of the ordinances and wasn't trying to hide anything.

The board also admitted they dropped the ball by not catching the construction mistakes sooner.

"I'd like to make a motion that we approve this variance based on the city making a mistake," said James Mills, the Marietta Planning and Zoning Board Vice Chairman.

So instead of correcting the mistakes, the city simply approved the work.

"You didn't check in advance to see how high it should be built or how wide it should be built?" CBS46's Adam Murphy asked.

"I didn't check whether that siding is approved or that roof right there is approved. I didn't check every little thing. That's true!" Chalfant said.

"And you said it was your mistake?" Murphy asked.

"Yes, It's my mistake; it all falls back on me," Chalfant said.

"So what do you tell these people? Murphy asked.

"I'm sorry. I did the best I could by turning in a plan," Chalfant said.

Sorry is not good enough for those living in the Forest Hills community. They want the city to reconsider their decision and restore character to their neighborhood.

"We have constructed on our property. We went through all the appropriate variances, the same planning. Our neighbors have done the same thing, why should he get away with it?" Kruger asked.

"Hey free zone, build whatever you want and ask for forgiveness later, it's madness," Carter said.

The Forest Hills Neighborhood Association told CBS46 they are now considering legal action to address the mistakes that have been made.

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