ST. PAULS — Town Administrator J.R. Steigerwald resigned Thursday during the closed-door portion of the town Board of Commissioners’ meeting.
The resignation, revealed after the commissioners returned to open session, was because of a difference in opinion, Mayor Jerry Weindel said.
“The town and Mr. Steigerwald had different ideas about the direction of the town,” Weindel said after the board meeting ended.
No mention of the pending resignation was made during the two-hour meeting that covered new business interests in town, storm water regulations and a sinkhole caused by faulty paving work.
“Mr. Steigerwald has been with us about five years,” Weindel said. “We’ve been happy with his performance. We just came to an agreement to go in different directions.”
When asked what is next for the town in the wake of Steigerwald’s resignation, Weindel said the board will have to sit down and discuss the matter. There are many things to take care of first, he said.
“We wish him well wherever he goes,” the mayor said.
When asked for comment after the meeting Steigerwald replied, “No comment.”
The news came after discussion and approval of a zoning change that will allow a new Kentucky Fried Chicken to be built on West Broad Street. Restaurant executives were on hand to discuss the zoning issues and potential problems with stormwater, which was described as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
“By law they can’t have more water on the ground than would naturally be there, and asphalt-paved parking lots are like a raceway for water,” said Danny Holloman, town Public Works director.
The plans for the site include a retention pond that will store water as it is absorbed into the aquifer.
Commissioner Jerry Quick wanted to address the ditch behind the property on which the restaurant is to be built.
“It’s a four-foot deep hole, a depression,” Quick said. “Water always collects there. The town needs us to inspect the retention ponds, to make an agreement with them.”
“We’ve been burned before on those ponds,” Commissioner Evans Jackson said. “We should try not to do it again.”
The problem was a lack of regular maintenance, said David Grant, director of Operations for Scottish Food Systems, the owner of the KFC franchise.
“The natural drainage course goes towards the drain hole,” Grant said.
David Honeycutt, a project manager with McGill Associates, works on storm water issues with the town.
“This isn’t the final design,” Honeycutt said. “But it is an appropriate design.”
“If it doesn’t work, you know who they’ll come after,” Jackson said.
Other towns have been consulted about their storm water issues, Honeycutt said. They’re looking at how larger storms affect their water systems. There are plans that need to be submitted to define responsibility.
“This should have been done two years ago,” Jackson said.
In other business, the commissioners;
— Heard a sinkhole at Elizabeth and Clark streets is being repaired. A sewer repair project had been completed, but then broke immediately after paving had been done.
— Approved a technical amendment to allow for smaller frontage on cul-de-sac properties. The land on these roads are pie-shaped wedges that couldn’t comply with town ordinances because of their footprint.
— Approved selling for $4,500 a foreclosed lot that had been declared surplus. The property is being sold as part of an effort to clean up the community.
— Approved the purchase by Johnie Stephens of property on Woodside Avenue, with the stipulation that the abandoned trailer on the site be removed. The land was given to the city in lieu of taxes several years ago.
— Heard the League of Municipalities’ request that communities tell them of any needs they want brought before the N.C. Legislature. Jackson requested that the League have the state determine the legality of game rooms and electronic gaming machines.
“It’s worth a lot of money,” Jackson said.