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The (zoning and code) enforcer

July 24, 2005|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

Daniel Sheffler was on the phone in his office in the Borough Hall one day last week telling a local landlord that he had to either evict a tenant or pay the tenant's delinquent water bill.

It's all part of the job for Sheffler, zoning and code enforcement officer for the Borough of Waynesboro.

Sheffler, 40, was hired in October to succeed Douglas Pyle who resigned.

He came to the borough from a 10-year job as a construction superintendent for a regional home-building company. He drove to construction sites checking the work.

"I was driving 200 to 300 miles a day," Sheffler said. "I got tired of being away from my kids," he said.

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Sheffler lives on Grant Street with his wife, Kimberly, and their five daughters, ages three to 17.

"Now I have a job two blocks from my house," he said.

Sheffler, a Waynesboro native, went to work for an uncle's home construction company after graduating from Waynesboro Area Senior High School. "I started as a laborer, worked my way up and learned the trade," he said. "All I've ever done is build and remodel houses. I have no formal schooling, just actual work experience."

"Dan had experience in the building trades, but more important, was his experience dealing with people," Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger said. "This is more of a people job than a technical job."

"He came into the job cold and he has picked it up very well," Hamberger said of Sheffler.

Most of Pyle's duties, when he worked for the borough, was serving as its building inspector, along with the code enforcement work.

The job description changed in July when Pennsylvania's statewide building code became law. The borough hired a private firm to do its inspections.

Sheffler enforces the borough's zoning ordinances. He issues land use permits and checks for compliance with the borough's zoning ordinance concerning lot size and setback lines in new developments, additions to existing buildings, sheds, garages and the like. He reviews land development plans before they are sent to the engineering office and planning commission to make sure they meet zoning regulations.

He works 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. He begins his day in the office until 10 a.m. when he gets in his car to make his rounds. He returns to the office from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

In between, he checks out complaints or drives around making sure the health, safety and welfare of the borough is in order.

This time of year he's busiest "keeping tabs on weeds. The ordinance says 10 inches. When it rains in this hot weather they grow like the dickens," he said.

"When you consider all the alleys we got, it's one of my most time-consuming jobs," Sheffler said. In the winter, it's making sure snow is shoveled off sidewalks, he said.

He also checks for unregistered vehicles on private property.

Driving around one day last week, he spotted a borough maintenance department worker shutting off the main water valve to a house.

"I called the landlord and told him he either had to pay the bill and get the water turned back on or evict the tenants," he said. " People are not allowed to live in a house where there is no water."

A sign on the wall behind Sheffler's desk reads, "It is my duty to execute the ordinance, not my individual opinion."

He said he has had to issue only about 25 citations since he took the job. "That's my last resort, the last thing I want to do," he said. "All I'm asking for is compliance. I'm not asking for the money."

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