Deena C. Bouknight – Contributing Writer
At the September Town of Franklin Council meeting, Town Planner/I.T. Director Justin Setser presented Frank Belanger, the Town’s new Code Enforcement Officer who was hired in August. While many residents of Franklin may not be familiar with the duties of that position, Setser explained its importance and conveyed to the Council appreciation for Belanger, a veteran.
“The Code Enforcement Officer is the person that enforces non-police power laws/ordinances within the Town of Franklin,” explained Setser, “signs violations, minimum housing, nuisance, junk/abandoned vehicles, and water and sewer issues to name a few.”
Belanger, who joined the Marines straight out of high school in 1985, maintained fixed-wing and helicopter attack aircraft for 10 years and was a Marine Security Guard at three American embassies for four years.
“I left the Marines in 1999, moved to Arizona, and spent three years in private security before moving back to North Carolina in 2002,” said Belanger, who added that he took a break from military service for a few years before joining the Army, with a final combat tour in Iraq in 2003. He retired from the military in 2012. After working in a few civilian jobs, Belanger learned from someone at Discover Church, where he attends and serves on the safety team, about the Code Enforcement Officer position, and he felt he would be a good match due to his skills and background.
“My duties are to enforce the codes that apply to both business and private properties in the town,” said Belanger. “These codes have been in place for quite some time now, but there has not been a Code Enforcement Officer on staff up to this point. My focus is to ensure adherence of established ordinances in order to maintain the quality of life and safety for the citizens of Franklin, while promoting a pleasant and inviting environment for the tourists and visitors to our town.”
Setser noted, “The Town of Franklin is now taking a proactive approach to these ordinances in the future, but with a focus on education and not a heavy hand on enforcement. Compliance is what we are looking for. This will help with the general appearance of the Town to residents and visitors and improve the quality of life for all.”