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Whiteville declines to reimburse zoning application fee

By Allen Turner, The News Reporter

With two members absent, the Whiteville City Council voted unanimously Tuesday not to refund a zoning application fee for a withdrawn request and to amend its citywide video surveillance policy. 

Mayor Terry Mann presided over the meeting, from which Councilmen Tim Blackmon and Jimmy Clarida were absent. Blackmon was away because of a medical issue and Clarida, along with City Manager Darren Currie, was attending a conference in Washington, D.C.

Council declined to reimburse Boys and Girls Home of N.C. a $350 application fee it had paid for a request to rezone property at 219 N. Lee Street. The request was withdrawn after comments made during a March 4 public hearing of the planning board. Instead, Boys and Girls Home will seek a conditional use permit for the property.

The reimbursement was declined because the fee that had been paid already was been used to advertise notice of the March public hearing and to send mail to adjacent property owners, both of which were required by law. Council members also expressed concern that to refund the application fee would set a bad precedent.

Police body cameras and unmanned public safety aircraft systems (drones) were exempted from the city’s video surveillance policy because body cams would be covered under a separate policy and drone cameras already are regulated by federal law and other policies.

Council approved a request from Mayor Pro Tem Sara Thompson that the city take part in N.C. Litter Sweep between April l3-17 by scheduling two days for the public works department to conduct a citywide trash pickup. Staff will advertise what items will be picked up and on what dates. One day will be devoted to pickup on the east side of town and another on the west side.

The board also approved more than 100 pages of routine amendments to the city’s document retention schedule. The changes were made in response to modifications in state guidelines that the city has followed since their adoption in 2012.

Stuart Rogers