City hires firm for land plan

First Posted: 9/9/2013

LUMBERTON — The City Council on Monday put the final stamp on hiring an out-of-town firm to provide consulting services to the city as it updates a land-use plan, doing so despite the objection from one councilman.

Councilman Leon Maynor’s was the lone vote against authorizing Planning Director Brandon Love to negotiate a $64,750 two-year contract with Benchmark CMR Inc of Kannapolis. The Wooten Company and the Lumber River Council of Governments also bid for the work.

Maynor said during the Council Policy meeting last week that the contract should go to the Lumber River Council of Governments, which submitted the lowest bid of $53,750.

“We would save $11,000 that we could use somewhere else,” Maynor told The Robesonian this morning.

Maynor, who has been serving as a liaison for the Council of Governments for the past 15 years, said the council is capable of handling the project.

“They have done the redistricting for the Board of Education and the land-use plan for Scotland County and Parkton,” he said. “They definitely have the experience … .”

Maynor said the Council of Governments only submitted a bid after he asked the Planning Board to reach out to the organization.

“They are nothing but an extension of the city and we pay dues every year for them to provide a cheaper rate of services,” he said.

Maynor’s wife, Jan, is the executive director of the Council of Governments and a member of the city Planning Board.

“Her and former director Jim Perry have more than enough experience to do the work,” Maynor said. “They have the same team as any other team would have to implement a land-use plan.”

Love said during the policy meeting that Benchmark has more than 13 years of experience in developing land-use plans in municipalities in North Carolina.

The land-use plan will be used as a guide for commercial and residential development. The city has not updated its plan since 1972.

In other action on Monday, the council recognized Billeye Ammons, a former chairman of the Lumberton Chamber of Commerce, who is returning to her hometown of Dallas, Texas.

Mayor Raymond Pennington presented Ammons with a resolution of appreciation.

“She’s been a model citizen … you don’t have to ask her to do something, she will just volunteer,” Pennington said. “She’s a true Lumberton citizen. We’ll all miss her.”

Ammons, who has lived in Lumberton for the past 20 years, has served as chairman of the Lumberton Chamber of Commerce, president of the Lumberton Rotary Club, secretary of the Robeson County Claws and Paws, and chair of the Lumberton Community Relations Commission.

“I would like to thank the city of Lumberton for welcoming this Texan,” Ammons said. “There’s a saying in Texas that says ‘There’s a time you dust off your boots and head back home’, so that’s what I’m doing.”

Ammons recently retired as assistant vice president for the southeast region at BB&T.

In other action, the council:

— Recognized Mastaphalis Cuts and Styles, Sandy Grove Baptist Church and Gregory Mitchell of Breath of Life Ministries for their community service in Lumberton.

— Approved a request from Steven Branch of Breck LLC that property located at 410 E. Second St. be rezoned from Light Manufacturing to Business Community. Branch intends on operating a retail store.

— Approved spending $116,880.59 to purchase a tractor and side cutter for Public Works.

— Appointed Gail McLean and Priscilla Leazer to the Lumberton Library Board.