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San Juan annexation to highlight city council meeting Tuesday

By Allen Turner, The News Reporter

Annexation of the San Juan Restaurant property at 1202 S. J.K. Powell Blvd. is expected to highlight Tuesday’s meeting of the Whiteville city council.

Council meets at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers at 24 Hill Plaza, but also will have a special called session earlier in the day at 4 p.m. when council members tour construction progress at the new City Hall at the intersection of South Madison Street and West Columbus Streets. Members of the public are welcome to attend that special meeting and tour the facility.

When the regular meeting gets underway at 6:30 at Hill Plaza, annexation of the restaurant property is expected to be the main topic to of discussion. The property, 5.96 acres, has long been thought to be within the city limits but it recently was discovered not to be. The restaurant for years has been paying city property taxes and receiving city services even though it was not in the city, something that neither the city nor the property owners realized. As soon as the error was discovered, the owners requested voluntary annexation and paid a $350 application fee.

Annexation of the property is critical for the restaurant to continue to hold ABC permits for the sale of alcohol for on-premises consumption. City staff has recommended that the annexation be approved and council approval is expected. Although it’s not on the agenda, council also is expected to act favorably on a suggestion by Councilman Justin Smith at the last council meeting that the $350 application fee paid by the restaurant be refunded because the restaurant has been acting in good faith under the assumption that it already was in the city limits.

In other business, Tuesday, Council is expected to:

  • Proclaim November as National Hospice Palliative Care Month;

  • Hear a presentation from Dr. Shannon Register on the 21st Century Community Learning center at First St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church;

  • Receive a presentation from U.S. Small Business Administration official Ly Eldridge on the SBA having extended the deadline for applying for disaster assistance following Hurricane Florence to Dec. 13;

  • Appoint Alton Ray Melton to fill the unexpired term of Oscar Edwards on the Whiteville ABC Board. Edwards resigned in October and, should he be appointed, Melton will serve until Oct. 30, 2020; and

  • Go into closed session o discuss three matters related to the potential purchase of property.

Stuart Rogers