Council rejects zoning request

First Posted: 8/8/2013

LUMBERTON — The City Council on Monday is expected officially limit the types of businesses that operate along Interstate 95 as retail only.

Councilman Erich Hackney made the motion to deny a request to allow clerical and doctors’ offices to operate in the B-5 district during a Council Policy meeting on Wednesday. The Planning Board had recommended the council approve the request.

This is the second time the council has reviewed the request made by Helen Locklear, of Native Realty at 3751 Lackey St., for the re-zoning of the B-5 district. The council during its Council Policy meeting in June referred the request back to the Planning Board for it to look into options after Brandon Love, director of Planning and Inspections, recommended denying Locklear’s initial application.

The planning staff presented the council with information that Smithfield, Statesville, Rocky Mount and Dunn allow clerical and doctors’ offices on the interstate.

“We need to change with the times and the research supported that,” Locklear said. “It’s better to have a mixed use in the B-5 zoning than to keep it for retail use.”

The strategy is to use the space near the highway to get motorists to stop and spend money at retail outlets.

Locklear, who runs a real estate business, said her office on Lackey Street is in a B-5 district.

“I have been at that location since 1996,” she said. “The city has issued permits in the past but this year they decide to enforce that rule.”

Locklear said she has been struggling to attract retail tenants.

“I was very disappointed that I didn’t get the request to modify the zoning,” Locklear said. “I’ve been treated unfairly.”

According to Hackney, the Planning Board only changed its decision because the request was sent back by council. Hackney said he did not think the Planning Board had explored other options.

The council on Monday is expected to:

— Approve a mutual aid agreement between the Lumberton Fire Department and the Smyrna Volunteer Fire Department.

— Approve a request from Public Works for an emergency purchase of a replacement pump for the Freeman Lift Station.

— Approve a change order for the Tanglewood Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation Project that reduces the project’s cost by $1,820.99.

— Approve the demolition of structures at 2901 Olive Drive and at 1204 Peachtree St.

— Approve spending $13,170 for repairs to the building at 110 N. Chestnut St. that is used by the city’s library for storage.

— Hold a public hearing on a Community Development Block Grant.

— Give Southeastern Regional Medical Center permission to erect eight freestanding signs.

— Accept $11,349 in grant money for the Pine Street Senior Center.

— Renew an annual agreement with the Lumberton Housing Authority to provide beat officers.

— Approve tax releases totaling almost $13,000.

— Approve reducing the speed limit on Albion, Bradford, Crescent, Delmar, and Elba streets from 25 to 20 mph.

— Approve about $4,800 in discretionary spending for multiple causes, including community watch programs.