Whiteville council denies zoning change for church sign
After listening for nearly an hour to an attorney representing the Whiteville Assembly of God, which was seeking approval a text amendment to the city’s zoning ordinance to permit an electronic sign at the church, and to four opponents of the change, the Whiteville City Council voted 5-1 Tuesday night to deny a request from the church to change the ordinance.
Councilman Justin Smith’s motion to deny the request was seconded by Sara Thompson and passed with the support of Councilmen Jimmy Clarida and Robert Leder, as well as Mayor Terry Mann. Councilman Tim Collier voted no and Councilman Tim Blackmon was not present,
Although he was accompanied by a large contingent of church members favoring the amendment, attorney Alan High was the only speaker advocating for the change. Two of the four speakers opposing the change have family ties to the council members making and seconding the motion to deny the request. Steve Smith, father of councilman Justin Smith, and John Thompson, husband of councilwoman Sara Thompson, addressed council to oppose the change, as did Curt Clark and Sarah Cartrette.
In other business, council unanimously passed a resolution asking the N.C. Dept. of Transportation to rename the U.S. 701 Bridge over Main Street to honor the memory of N.C. Highway Patrolman Kevin Conner, who died in the line of duty last year. Highway Patrol Trooper Matt Hardee asked council to support the resolution and said the city would not need to worry about the $2,000 DOT charge for signage that would accompany the change, inferring that Highway Patrol supporters will absorb the costs.
Council deferred receipt of a check for $49,630 from Duke Energy as a first responder grant. Duke’s John Elliott was not able to attend due to a scheduling conflict and instead will make the presentation at a later meeting.