ROCKINGHAM – The Rockingham City Council, led by Mayor Steven Morris, held its monthly meeting for August Tuesday night at council chambers located at Rockingham City Hall downtown.
With the room scattered with constituents, Morris and his city council, comprised of Mayor Pro Tem John P. Hutchinson, Councilwoman Anne M. Edwards, Councilman Bennett Deane, III, Councilwoman Denise Sullivan and Councilman A. Eugene Willard, addressed a variety of city-based issues without much resentment.
Also in attendance was Rockingham City Manager Monty Crump, who was recently appointed to serve a six-year term with the North Carolina Wildlife Commission by Governor Roy Cooper.
Before the Council got down to business, Morris recognized two citizen’s with the city’s “Community Service Award.” Ruth Robinson was recognized for her years of service as a member of the Rockingham Historic Preservation Board. She was on the committee from May, 2010, until June of this year.
F. Brent Neal, a longtime attorney in Rockingham, was also applauded for his outstanding service to the city. Having been actively involved in the community for 40 years, Neal was thanked for his service on the Board of Adjustments from July, 2008, until earlier this summer.
“We appreciate both of these two people’s service to the community,” Morris said grinning as he handed each recipient a plaque.
In starting official city business, city planning director John R. Massey took to the podium to discuss the night’s biggest topic about a resolution for closing an alley right-of-way. The 15-foot wide unimproved, unnamed alley, which extends for four blocks between Hilltop Drive and Watson Avenue, raises concerns with the pending sale of a homeowner’s property.
The Council approved a public hearing that will allow for the abandonment of the alley, as Marlene Saunders, the aforementioned homeowner, cannot sell her property due to an issue with the title insurance company. The property, according to Massey, is “encroaching into the alley,” and if the resolution is passed, Ms. Saunders would be able to claim half the width of alley, which is adjacent to her property. Upon Council approval, the pending sale’s issues will be resolved.
“This is a common situation we’ve done numerous times around the city,” Massey said. “The older areas of town have what are called ‘paper streets’ (that are often in need of abandonment).”
Jesse Grant, the potential buyer, addressed the Council by stating he would “appreciate” if they would help this process along. Councilman Willard motioned to have the resolution put in place, which was seconded by Councilwoman Sullivan.
Relating to other community news, Councilman Deane nominated Jamie Lambeth, who is a geographic information systems (GIS) specialist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to fill the vacancy of the extra-territorial jurisdiction seat on the city’s Planning and Zoning Board.
The Council also closed a resolution authorizing the condemnation to acquire certain easements of property owned by the Sammy L. Whitely Construction Company, Inc. after terms between the two were not able to be agreed upon.
“The city always tries to work in good faith to get issues like this resolved,” Councilman Deane said. “It’s in everyone’s best interests, but when someone is unwilling to work with the city, this is necessary.”
City manager Crump informed those in attendance that a recent hiccup in a waste water treatment plant project have been resolved. The project, which will provide power to the main pumps that go to the Pee-Dee River, was authorized by the state. Crump stated that the authorization for the expansion project will benefit local industrial companies.
Upcoming downtown events include the Thomas H. Leath Memorial Library’s solar eclipse movie night on Monday, August 21, where guests are welcomed to safely view the eclipse and enjoy entertainment. There are two more Plaza Jam events left this year, both occurring on the first Thursday evening of September and October. Activities begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Cole Plaza.
Questions or concerns regarding the information discussed in this Rockingham City Council meeting can be addressed by calling Rockingham City Hall at (910) 895-9088.