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Springfield Building Development Services director to retire

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The city of Springfield’s director of Building Development Services announced his plans to retire.

Chris Straw, who’s led the department since 2010 and has been with the city since 1999, is scheduled to work his last day in January, according to a news release.

“Chris is tireless in his dedication to private citizens and developers,” City Manager Greg Burris said in the release. “He provides outstanding customer service and dramatically improved the city’s reputation for being a friendly and easy organization to work with.”

Straw leads a Building Development Services staff that issue permits for all building construction phases, give tests and award certificates to electricians, plumbers, gas fitters and mechanical workers, and respond to some 12,000 resident requests per year related to nuisance complaints.

He’s also been a driving force in the city’s Zone Blitz campaign, specifically adressing chronic nuisance problems, according to the release.

Straw’s Zone Blitz initiatives, approved by City Council, include:
    •    hiring two additional Building Development Services inspectors in July 2016;
    •    adopting, in March 2017, the standards of the International Property Maintenance Code;
    •    making the administrative hearing process for opposition to compliance enforcement attempts more efficient; and
    •    revising the city’s nuisance and housing code.

Rick Quint, owner of Q & Co. LLC, recalls working with Straw on the Springfield Expo Center and the Springfield-Branson National Airport terminal.

“He was top-notch then, and he’s top-notch now,” Quint said in the release. “He just has a roll-up-your-sleeves, get-to-work attitude and he’s a problem solver. He’s the kind of guy that just drops everything to help someone who needs his help.”

Prior to joining the city, Straw worked in private-sector building design and development for 22 years as a licensed architect.

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