Wednesday, 11 October 2017 12:04

Rockingham City Council Holds Public Hearings During October Meeting

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Gerard A. Morrison (right at podium) addresses the Rockingham City Council during Tuesday's meeting. Gerard A. Morrison (right at podium) addresses the Rockingham City Council during Tuesday's meeting. Photo courtesy of Chuck Thames.

ROCKINGHAM – The Rockingham City Council held its October meeting Tuesday at the city hall located at 514 Rockingham Road. Mayor Steve Morris called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m., as the meeting opened with the consent agenda was reviewed and approved unanimously by the board. 


A consideration was brought for Issuance of Certificate of Convenience and Necessity for Shannon Adams to operate a taxi service in Rockingham.  With successful background checks having been completed by the Rockingham Police department, a motion was brought by mayor pro tem John P. Hutchinson and seconded by Councilwoman Anne Edwards.  The consideration was passed unanimously by the board. 

Public hearings were held on tow topics Tuesday night.  The first hearing was a rezoning request for a residence and property located at 404 E. Franklin Street.  The request, which was discussed in detail during the council’s September meeting, entails rezoning the property from Central Business (B-2) to Residential (R-7). 

John Massey, Rockingham’s Planning Director, noted that this request comes from the owner due to a bank involved with refinancing the property requiring that the property be zoned residential.

“It’s a downzoning, you’re not opening the door for any uses that would potentially be detrimental for the neighborhood or surrounding properties,” Massey said. “The planning board reviewed it and they did not have any concerns with it.” 

Massey further stated that the city staff agree with the planning board to proceed with the rezoning. Following the public hearing period the board passed the motion by Councilman Bennett Deane unanimously. 

The second public hearing brought forward a resolution to abandon a portion of the alley that extends from E. Franklin Street along the rear of properties located at 119, 121, and 127 S. Lee Street (the former R.W. Goodman Company) and beside the property located at 111 E. Franklin Street.

Additionally, this resolution would dedicate a new 12-foot wide alley across the property located at 111 E. Franklin Street.  This would allow access to the back of the businesses following the closure of the existing right-of-way.  With no concerns being brought during the public hearing period, a motion was brought by Councilwoman Denise Sullivan and passed unanimously. 

Consideration was brought for a proposed property donation of the former Arc3 Gas site located at 101 Maness Avenue. Massey discussed the fact that the property is in a FEMA delineated floodway and has little commercial desirability due to frequent flooding.

“We were able to access some Brownsfield Grant Funds, courtesy of Richmond County,” Massey said.  “We had an asbestos inspection done, there is no asbestos; we had a phase one environmental study done, and there were no significant findings.” 

Massey indicated that the buildings on the site could likely be removed by city staff and the property could provide a new future access point to Hitchcock Creek. A motion was brought to accept the donation and was accepted by the full board. 

“This will provide great visibility for exposure to tourists,” Deane noted during a comment session. “This is a great opportunity to expand on what we’re trying to do to enhance tourism and bring more folks in for our Blue Trail”.

Monty Crump, city manager, brought a motion to accept a bid for a repaving project at the Rockingham Public Works facility.  The lowest bidder, Barnhill Contracting Company, submitted a proposal of $332,924.25.  This was under the budget set of $390,000.00. A motion to accept the bid was brought by Deane and seconded by Hutchinson and passed unanimously.

In the business by visitors, Beverly Crouse, owner of property at 111 Scales Street came forward to speak.  She said she had sent the city emails concerning an issue with sidewalk maintenance at her property. Crouse offered the council members to ask any questions pertaining to her concerns.

Morris informed Crouse that no details could be exposed because the claim is going to the city’s insurance company. Crouse then thanked the board and indicated she would return to file the insurance claim on Wednesday. 

Gerard A. Morrison spoke to discuss the recent John W. Coltrane ‘Edu-tainment’ Festival held in Hamlet.  This annual event just completed its ninth year with plans already in the works for the 10-year event next October. 

Morrison noted many famous people who have come from this region and encouraged the council to assist with recognizing these individuals.

“I’ve always liked the diplomacy I’ve seen here,” Morrison noted. “I’m going to the county seat because this is where good things happen. I want to make sure I commend you all for always keeping this above board,”

Morrison asked the council to help with growing the effort to, “protect, preserve and promote the arts”. 

A project was approved to allow sewer services to be expanded on Highway 74 East to include several businesses that are outside the city limits.  These businesses will require annexation to receive sewer services.  

Edwards reminded everyone of the upcoming Rotary Barbecue and Auction in conjunction with Election Day on November 7. And Sullivan requested everyone to keep Councilman A. Eugene Willard in their thoughts on the loss of his grandson.

Deane noted that the Richmond Senior High Girls Volleyball team is undefeated going into their last home game this Thursday. 

“I encourage everyone to go out Thursday night to see them play Scotland,” Deane said. “I’ve been out to see them a few times and it is extremely exciting to watch those girls play.”

Morris ended the meeting with a resolution honoring Superintendent Garcia Lee Morman, Sr. Morman passed away on September 22 and was formally of the Temple Church of God in Christ.

The meeting then went into closed session. The council returned from closed session and Deane immediately made a motion to authorize an $8,000 loan to Life’s  Memories Outdoors, a local outfitter.  The money would be loaned at 2% interested rate for a duration of 5 years.  The money will be used to replace worn equipment.  The motion was seconded by Hutchinson and was passed by the council.

For additional details about this meeting please contact Rockingham City Hall at  (910) 997-5546.

Last modified on Wednesday, 11 October 2017 12:10