LUMBERTON — The City Council on Monday rejected two bids to establish video gaming facilities, revised an ordinance regulating honeybee hives, and praised an outgoing council member.
The video gaming rejections came on unanimous voice votes after public hearings on conditional-use permit requests from Joe French and Michelle Newsome. French wanted to establish a skilled gaming facility at 1702 W. Fifth St., and Newsome at 3487 Lackey St.
City Planning Director Brandon Love recommended they be rejected.
No one came forward during the hearings to speak for or against the requests.
Councilman Leon Maynor made the motion to deny French’s request, and Councilman Erich Hackney moved that Newsome’s request be denied. Both councilman cited that the applications did not meet conditional-use permit criteria.
The criteria not met by the applications are that the establishment: will not materially endanger the public health or safety; will not substantially injure the value of adjoining or abutting property; will be in harmony with the area in which it is to be located; and will be in general conformity with the land-use plan, thoroughfare plan or other plan officially adopted by the city.
In a related action, a public hearing on amendments to various sections of the Land Use Ordinance pertaining to electronic gaming operations was set for Dec. 6. Given the council’s December schedule, a vote on the ordinance could come on the same day during City Council’s regular meeting.
An ordinance approved on Monday sets regulations for keeping honeybee hives inside city limits. Council members approved without comment a revised ordinance requiring a 150-foot setback from each adjoining property line.
The ordinance further stipulates that no more than five hives will be allowed on lots 15,000 square feet in size or smaller. On lots larger than 15,000 square feet, additional hives will be permitted on the basis of one hive for each 5,000 square feet in excess of 15,000 square feet. No hive can located adjacent to a public street unless enclosed by a flyway barrier at least 6 feet in height consisting of a solid wall, fence, dense vegetation or combination thereof. The entrance to the hive shall not face any adjoining rear or side property lines. And, each beekeeper shall ensure that a sufficient on-site source of water is available and is unobstructed to the bees at all times.
The council members approved awarding a $78,000 contract to L.E. Wooten & Company for the construction of a berm to prevent floodwaters from entering the city water plant. The plant was inundated in October 2016 by Hurricane Matthew.
The berm project is being funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The Wooten Company, a multi-discipline firm with offices in North Carolina and South Carolina, will undertake all design, bidding and construction administration services.
The council also approved awarding a contract worth $90,003.41 to Charles R. Underwood Inc., of Sanford, for repairs to and the installation of a control valve to a water plant pump damaged by Hurricane Matthew. The approval also includes reallocating $97,000 intended for other Public Works repair and upgrade projects.
The council will also spend $17,700 to buy and install at pump for the Ramada Inn Lift Station. According to the Public Works Department’s funding request, there are three pumps at the lift station, but two of the pumps failed “several months ago” and were sent out for repair.
The council members set a Dec. 6 public hearing date so residents can comment on Sanderson Farms’ request to annex 12.88 acres of land on Elizabethtown Road near Snake Road.
A retiring Lumberton Fire Department senior captain was presented a trophy and a ceremonial helmet in honor of his 28 years of service to the city and the department.
“This was the best move I’ve ever made in my life, when I came to the city of Lumberton,” John R. Carroll said.
Erich Hackney, who lost is re-election bid to the City Council Precinct 8 seat to Owen Thomas, thanked his fellow council members, city staff and the people of Lumberton for the privilege of serving 16 years on City Council. He said he is proud of what the city has accomplished in those years and praised city department heads and employees for the work they did to make the city better during those years.
“I plan to remain active, and I’m sure some people will be calling me for help,” he said.
Council members spoke highly of Hackney, praising him for his hard work and the skills and knowledge he brought to the council.
“Over the period of time, over the years, I’ve come to love him because he was always there,” Maynor said.
Councilmen John Cantey and John Robinson spoke of Hackney being there to for them and others during the days after Hurricane Matthew struck.
“I grew to love you,” Cantey said.
“You’re going to be missed,” Robinson said.
In other business, the council members approved:
— A change order of $55,891.19 to a contract for the repair of a Public Utilities crew room and warehouse damaged by Hurricane Matthew. The work is funded by FEMA and Golden LEAF.
— A utilities repair contract worth $211,799 for VFW Road near Interstate 95. The work, funded by FEMA, is to install a sewer force main and paving.
— Referring the rezoning petition from Jonathan Wayne Hunt for property located off of Elizabethtown Road to the Planning Board for review, and to authorize the planning director to set the date of the public hearing.
— Referring the rezoning petition from Renee Perry for property located at 1502 Godwin Ave. to the Planning Board for review, and to authorize the planning director to set the date of the public hearing.
— Referring the petition from Metcon Requesting a conditional-use permit for property located at 500 Chestnut St. to the Planning Board for review, and to authorize the planning director to set the date of the public hearing.
— Adopting resolutions for preliminary assessment and directing the project be undertaken for a ditch tiling request for property located at 301 Cambridge Blvd.
— Adopting a resolution declaring certain city property surplus and allowing the property to be auctioned. The property is to be auctioned off on Dec. 27.
— Adopting a resolution allowing delegation of contract negotiation and approval to City Attorney City Holt Moore. Moore will have final approval to contracts if no changes are made to the contract as approved initially by City Council. The purpose of the change is to streamline the approval process.
— Adopting a resolution for submission of an application for a Building Reuse Grant for Harry Jhala Property regarding property at 140 Wintergreen Drive. Jhala intends to buy the old Huddle House Restaurant building on Wintergreen Drive and convert it to a Cold Stone Creamery.
— Adopting a resolution for the acceptance of a state loan from the Department of Environmental Quality. The $1 million loan is for rehabilitation and “priority repairs” to the city’s sanitary sewer collection system. The money will come from a Clean Water State Revolving Fund. The loan comes with a $500,000 in principal forgiveness.
— Changing documents submitted to the North Carolina Office of Emergency Management to list Mayor Bruce Davis and City Manager Wayne Horne as agents authorized to sign such documents.
— The designation of $1,000 of Community Revitalization Funds to Arrested Potential Inc., for the Christmas Toy Give-A-Way to be held Dec. 16; $2,400 to Toys for Kids Program; $400 of Community Revitalization Funds to Oakridge Homeowner’s Association for a Community Event; $1,150 for Breath of Life International Ministries for Community Programming on Dec. 16; $1,300 for Rowland Norment Elementary School’s annual English as a 2nd Language Class; $1,750 for churches’ holiday programs in Precinct 6; and $118.71 to the Robeson County Arts Council and deobligate $528.71 from Community Watch to Unobligated Funds.
Reach T.C. Hunter at 910-816-1974.