In the Matter of a Complaint by                        FINAL DECISION


J.M. Warren and Cherie Warren,




            against              Docket #FIC 88-222


Clinton Inland Wetlands Enforcement Officer,


                        Respondent                  September 28, 1988


            The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 28, 1988, at which time the complainants and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.


            After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found:


            1.  The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.


            2.  By letter postmarked June 14, 1988, and filed with the Commission on June 15, 1988, the complainants appealed to the Commission, alleging the respondent denied their requests for public information.


            3.  It is found that Kenilworth VI is a phase of a subdivision which at the times of the complainant J.M. Warren's requests was under investigation because of complaints about silt and mud discharge into Boulder Lake.


            4.  It is found that on or about May 10, 1988, the complainant J.M. Warren requested the respondent provide him with a copy of:


            a.   the cease and desist order for certain development work being done at Kenilworth VI,


            b.   and the site inspection report generated by her investigation into the complaints about discharge into the lake.


            5.  It is found that the complainants' appeal to the Commission was postmarked more than thirty days after the date of the requests described in paragraph 4, above.


Docket # 88-222                                 Page Two


            6.   It is concluded that pursuant to 1-21i(b), G.S., the Commission lacks jurisdiction over the complaint concerning the requests described in paragraph 4, above.


            7.  It is found that on or about May 17, 1988, the complainant J.M. Warren requested access to the entire Kenilworth VI file at three Town of Clinton departments - inland wetlands, planning and zoning, and building and health - which have contiguous offices.


            8.  It is found that the respondent asked the complainant J.M. Warren if he wanted to see the file for Kenilworth VI's regulated wetlands activities and he said yes.  The respondent then handed him that file and allowed him to make copies of the records in it.


            9.  It is found that other relevant files about Kenilworth VI existed in those departments at the time, including zoning records about the Old Orchard Road and Fox Hill Road cul-de-sacs, areas relevant to the investigation.


            10.  It is found that the respondent is also the Clinton Zoning Enforcement Officer and was aware other records existed.


            11.  It is found that at that time the respondent should have informed the complainant J.M. Warren that other relevant records existed and allowed him to choose which records he wanted to inspect or copy.


            12.  It is concluded, therefore, that the respondent violated 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S., by not providing the complainant J.M. Warren with prompt access to all the Kenilworth VI records.


            13.  The Commission declines to address the complainants' allegations pertaining to a telephone conversation between the complainant Cherie Warren and the respondent, as the Freedom of Information Act does not require responses to questions, only requests for records.


Docket #FIC 88-222                           Page Three


            The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:


            1.  The respondent forthwith shall provide the complainant J.M. Warren with access to all the records concerning Kenilworth VI, as well as the discharge problem and investigation.


            2.  The respondent henceforth shall act in strict compliance with the requirements of 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.


            Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of September 28, 1988.



                                    Catherine H. Lynch

                                    Acting Clerk of the Commission