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Norwood amends zoning ordinance for adult gaming

In its final meeting of the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the Norwood Board of Commissioners considered changes to the town’s zoning ordinance, made amendments to the current budget and passed a budget ordinance for the new fiscal year.
The first agenda item was a public hearing on a resolution to amend the town’s zoning ordinance as it pertains to adult gaming establishments. Michael Sandy of the Stanly County Planning Department (which serves as the town of Norwood’s zoning authority) presented the proposed amendments to the commissioners.
“The town has received some inquiries about such gaming facilities recently,” said Sandy, “and the current ordinance which was adopted around 2012 is no longer compliant with state statutes. As a result, we looked at what other towns and cities in the area are doing related to these businesses.”
The recommended amendments, according to Sandy, are similar to those in place in Albemarle.
“Albemarle took a land use approach to governing such establishments,” he said, and noted the ordinance would need to be amended in four sections, including the definition of such an establishment, the addition of these establishments as a permitted use in the HB (Highway Business) zoning district, and regulations on location, access, operating hours, minimum age of customers, signage, maximum capacity and parking regulations for the establishment.
No public comments were received, and upon closure of the hearing, Commissioner James Lilly moved, with a second by Commissioner Wes Hartsell, that the resolution be accepted. The board voted unanimously to do so.

NMA, SCCM want food pantry in town

Town Administrator John Mullis reported that he had been contacted by representatives of the Norwood Ministerial Association and the Stanly Community Christian Ministry requesting that a food pantry be located in Norwood, and that the town’s community building on West Turner Street might potentially be a suitable location.
“It could be located within the existing building on one end,” said Mullis, who noted that food storage and a small interview room would be needed.
“The pantry would be staffed one day a week for three hours a day,” said Mullis, “so it should not hinder the operation of the Stanly County Senior Nutrition Site which already operates there.”
Commissioner Betty O’Neal asked if the town would be required to staff the pantry.
“No, Stanly Community Christian Ministry and the Norwood Ministerial Association would be responsible for that,” Mullis replied, stating that he would check on cost and design for the possible addition.

No changes to street

Mullis also reported that he had contacted the N.C. Department of Transportation regarding a complaint from Kendall Street residents Eddie and Alisca Schrum about excessive truck traffic.
“Unfortunately, NCDOT has told us it will be difficult for them to place limitations on the size vehicles allowed on the street since it is a state-maintained road,” he said.

Council makes budget amendments

Finance Officer Kelly Caudle reported that as of Monday, two departments were over budget, and one was very close.
“Gas prices have gone up, and the departments had no control over that,” she said. “The price increase is the main culprit.”
Caudle recommended three budget amendments to correct the shortage, all of which were approved unanimously.
Mayor Pro-tem Linda Campbell clarified that the amendments were necessary to conclude the 2017-18 budget year (which ends on June 30) properly.
“This is our final meeting of the fiscal year,” said Campbell, “and it gives us an opportunity to make sure that the line items for our departments come in within budget.”

Town approves budget

Mullis then presented the proposed budget ordinance for the 2018-19 fiscal year. A budget hearing on June 11 drew no public comments, and the amounts presented to the commission on Monday projected total revenues and expenses to be $4.2 million spread over three funds. These included General Fund ($2,331,335), Powell Bill Fund ($405,000), and Enterprise Fund ($1,551,000).
Commissioner Robbie Cohen moved to accept the budget as presented, followed by a second from Hartsell, and a unanimous vote in favor.

Board supports U.S. 52 widening

A resolution supporting the widening of U.S. Highway 52 from Dennis Road, just north of the Porter community, to Deland Drive, approximately one-half mile north of the Norwood town limits, was then considered and discussed.
Hartsell then moved, with a second from O’Neal, that the resolution be passed and sent on to NCDOT. The motion passed unanimously.

Settlement

The meeting concluded following a closed session to discuss matters of attorney-client privilege, during which the town agreed to pay a $30,000 settlement to Koonce-Noble Engineering Associates of Lumberton to resolve a disputed invoice from 2017 during the town’s Berryhill sewer project.

Other Business

In other matters:
• Aberdeen Carolina and Western Railroad notified the town that improvements at the Anson Avenue rail crossing will begin in the near future;
• Cleanup of damage from a wind storm on June 11 has been completed by town crews. Damage to trees and structures in the Norwood Cemetery and at Darrell Almond Park had resulted from the inclement weather;
• Mullis announced that he will request the North Carolina Local Government Commission review the language of the town’s agreement with Utility Metering Solutions for the town’s new remote-read meter system.
The board will next convene at 6 p.m. July 16.

Toby Thorpe is a freelance contributor for The Stanly News & Press.