PEMBROKE — Businesses seeking to move to Pembroke may have to dig a little deeper in the company coffers to pay for land-use permits, the Town Council decided at Monday’s meeting.
The council agreed to discuss a new fee schedule that would up the cost for zoning, rezoning and conditional-use permits. Town Manager Oryan Lowry said the town had recently completed a comparison of the town’s fees with coastal towns, but he said no comparisons had yet been done with other towns in Robeson County.
“We are just looking at revamping up our fee schedule because it hasn’t been revamped for a long time,” he said. “… Variance-use, conditional-use fee … all of them. The whole gamut. We just put together some examples of other locations, maybe we can get together and talk about some of that.”
Town Clerk Amira Hunt said that “it was time to update” the fee schedule. She said residents shouldn’t have to worry about the fee increase unless they are forced to rebuild on land where a home had once stood.
“It won’t affect the residents unless they have some kind of disaster,” she said. “It’s more for commercial businesses who are looking to come in.”
Also on Monday, the council approved the use of Tasers as a non-lethal weapon for the Pembroke Police Department.
“We have been having some problems with some large crowds,” said Capt. Ed Locklear, who presented the proposal to the council. “When you go into a large crowd, we have one person giving a lot of problem and the Taser can single out that one person.”
Locklear said that the Police Department currently has four Tasers, but can only use pepper spray to break up conflicts, which often results in officers having to be decontaminated as well.
“It just gives the police officers another option until you get to lethal force,” he said. “It’s more of a personal issue with the Taser.”
Most of Pembroke’s Police Department personnel are certified to operate Tasers for one year, according to Locklear, and would have to be re-certified after one year.
“Every other campus in the state does allow the use of Tasers,” Locklear said. “And every department in the county uses Tasers, except for Red Springs and St. Pauls.”
Pembroke’s Police Department has had Tasers in the department for three years but they have not been used because of liability concerns, according to Lowry.
“I recommend that we have them,” Lowry said. “I want officers that are certified. I want officers that are experienced enough to have the better judgment to move from the continuum force; from the pepper spray, to Taser to lethal force.”
In other action on Monday, the council:
— Approved the application for public assembly by Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority for a concert to be held in the town on March 21.
— Heard from Dr. David Brooks, who asked council members to encourage pet owners to take advantage of SNIP, a semi-annual event during which area veterinarians provide discounts on spay and neutering. The program continues until March 16.
— Agreed to receive bids for professional consulting and design services for a waste water processing plant that is a part of Project Sweet Daddy, a food manufacturing company that is considering locating near Pembroke. The plant would bring 150 jobs with a starting wage of $9.50 an hour.
— Approved the demolition of burned-out properties at 102 W. Railroad St. and 107 W. Third St.