PEMBROKE — Members of Pembroke’s ABC Board told the Town Council on Monday that they are working to renovate the town’s ABC store that has been closed for more than four years.
Loretta Smith, chairman of the board, said that the board has cleaned up the store, but will need to make changes to the store’s layout to adhere to state law. She said the board is in the process of securing a loan, creating business and financial plans, and securing bids from consulting firms.
According to Smith, state ABC Administrator Michael Herring said in emails to town Attorney Gary Locklear that the store did not meet standards set in 2010 of being “customer-friendly, modern and efficient.”
“He stated in his emails that there were certain stipulations that were made as far as opening the store,” Smith said. “There wasn’t something saying we couldn’t open it, but we’re going to have to do some things in order to open it.”
The building currently has a counter layout, meaning customers depend on an employee to locate any items they’re seeking; the new floor plan would remove the counter and allow customers to walk the aisles. The ABC store has been closed since Oct. 20, 2008, after an audit revealed money and inventory were missing.
Also on Monday, the council heard from several residents who asked that it address issues that they feel are hurting their health.
Janice Hunt told the council that constant burning of trash was causing her and her neighbors to experience respiratory problems.
“This town has grown,” Hunt said. “This is no longer the same demographic as when I was a little girl, raised here, and my momma burning her garbage because we did not have the comfort of garbage pickup. We may pay for it, but it is a luxury that we should be thankful for.”
Resident David Oxendine asked the council to enact ordinances to address “junk cars” in the town that are releasing pollutants into the groundwater, and tires at car garages that collect rainwater and provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes. He also asked the council to take action to remove abandoned and burned-out buildings.
“It doesn’t help a town at all to have such stuff like that staying around,” he said.
Georgia Ivie, a teacher who lives on Normal Street, told the board she is “a little bit sick and tired” of motorcycles that “ride up and down the street” late at night. She said that neighbors who are ill are particularly affected because they can’t sleep.
“It’s kind of aggravating when I have tests that I have to grade and lectures that I have to get ready — and there’s nothing like a howling Kawasaki on Sunday afternoons when you’re trying to get stuff ready for all your classes,” Ivie said.
In other action on Monday, the council:
— Denied a request from Dexter and Mable Jones to re-zone their property at 404 Jones St. from single-family to multi-family housing after Dale Holland, of Holland Consulting Planners, told the council the re-zoning would not be in harmony with the surrounding area and “constitute a case of spot zoning.” Residents David Oxendine and Terry Oxendine, and Planning Board member Barbara Pearson spoke against the re-zoning, saying that multi-family housing causes “big problems” in neighborhoods and that the town does not want any more apartment complexes.
— Authorized the town to apply for a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant to purchase and demolish three vacant commercial buildings and six dilapidated homes in order to build single-family low-to-moderate income housing.
— Endorsed the 25- to 30-rear Comprehensive Transportation Plan, proposed by Dominque Boyd, of the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The plan, currently under review by the department, would allow for improvements to N.C. 711, Railroad Street, and Deep Branch Road; extensions to Jay Cee Hut Road and Pine Street; a shuttle system that would include park-and-rides on exits 200 and 203 on U.S. 74; and the addition of several sidewalks and bike paths.
— Announced that Charly Lowry, of Dark Water Rising, would extend the “Peace in the Park” series to a pre-Thanksgiving event on Nov. 18 and a “Holiday Extravaganza” on Dec. 14 and 15.
— Approved a request from the Pembroke Chamber of Commerce to use the town park for a New Year’s celebration on Dec. 31. The chamber plans to build a pine cone and drop it at midnight, according to Sabrina Deese, vice president.
— Approved a local water supply plan from the Division of Water Services.
— Authorized the spraying of mosquitoes, which is paid for by a state grant.