Smithfield
Town Council

    report from April 2 session

Council members present: Emery Ashley, David Barbour, John Dunn, Marlon Lee,
Stephen Rabil, Travis Scott,
David Stevens, and Mayor Andy Moore
Absent:
none


Dale Wood is Smithfield's

"Police Officer of the Year"


Police Chief Keith Powell presented the award to Dale Wood at Tuesday's Town Council session. (Brian Eaves photo)
The Smithfield Town Council Tuesday evening congratulated Detective Sergeant Dale Wood, chosen by members of the Police Department as their "Officer of the Year."

A member of the department's Investigation Division, Sergeant Wood has served as a Smithfield policeman since 2000. Before that he worked for the Johnston County Sheriff's Office for eight years and the Benson Police Department for two years.

In his report to the council about the award, Police Chief Keith Powell wrote: "Sergeant Wood has worked very hard in Investigations and handled many difficult cases during his tenure in law enforcement. He is always very professional with the victims he deals with on a daily basis.

"Sergeant Wood is always willing to help new recruits with issues that arise with difficult cases being investigated. Sergeant Wood is a major asset to the Smithfield Police Department and the Town of Smithfield."

TWO NEW POLICE OFFICERS SWORN IN

Mayor Andy Moore administered the oath of office to two new policemen during Tuesday's council session: Damon Kenny and Joseph Phillip Heck. Meanwhile, Town Manager Mike Scott reported that the town is close to hiring four more candidates, bringing the Police Department "to full strength."

ANIMAL TETHERING ORDINANCE ADOPTED


Without dissent or public opposition, the council approved an ordinance that prohibits animals from being tethered outdoors as a means of confinement. Adoption was delayed from last month's council session to allow Police Chief Powell to add a provision that allows a small animal to be chained in its yard for short periods if its owner is present.

LAW OFFICE ALLOWED FOR THIRD STREET RESIDENCE


Following considerable discussion, the council unanimously approved rezoning of a residence at the northeast corner of South Third and Woodall streets to allow attorney John Whitley to move his law office there. Planning Director Stephen Wensman recommended denial of the rezoning, citing several reasons: the house is smaller than minimum square-footage requirements for an Office & Institutional zone; it shares a driveway with an adjacent residence; it's within the 100-year floodplain (near Spring Branch); off-street and handicapped parking would be difficult; and it's likely "spot zoning" prohibited by law. Mr. Whitley, who has owned the house for some time for residential renters, countered that a travel agency has been in business for many years next door. He also noted that "very rarely would more than one car be parked near my office to do business with me." Town Attorney Bob Spence Jr. said he doesn't see it as "spot zoning" in light of commercial uses of property extending southward from the downtown business district to Mr. Whitley's house.

"HOUSE OF WORSHIP" ALLOWED IN BUSINESS ZONE


The council also gave unanimous approval to Will Roland's request for a special-use permit to hold midday Sunday worship services in a vacant portion of a building that houses several businesses on Highway 70 West at Strickland Drive. Planning Director Wensman voiced concerns about traffic leaving the services, but Councilman David Barbour (West Smithfield's representative) said "there's not a lot of traffic on 70 on Sundays." Even so, Mr. Roland assured the council that he would "make sure" members of congregation exercise caution as they depart.

PERMISSION GRANTED FOR FOUR SPECIAL EVENTS

The council approved "temporary use permits" for four special events:
a "Spring Carnival" at Carolina Premium Outlets April 11-21, "Poocha Palooza Festival" on April 27 at the Second Street Dog Park, Riders Meet Circuit car show on June 30 at Sound Station and Security, and a "Craft Beer Crawl" on September 20 in Downtown Smithfield.

CONTRACTS FOR PARK PAVINGS, MAUSOLEUM ROOF


The council awarded a $49,787 contract to David Hinton Construction Company to build a paved walking trail around the Disabled American Veterans hut adjacent to Community Park and to add paved handicapped parking spaces with associated sidewalks at Talton Park, Bob Wallace Jaycee Kiddie Park, Gertrude Brady Johnson Memorial Park, and Smith-Collins Park. Also awarded was a $14,800 contract to Mark Gregory Pool Roof Company to replace the roof on the mausoleum in Sunset Cemetery.

LIBRARY, APPEARANCE, DOWNTOWN APPOINTMENTS

The council reappointed Carolyn Ennis to the Public Library's Board of Trustees and appointed Robin Cook and Brandie Davis as new members of the town's Appearance Commission and Dr. Kathleen Coates as a new member of the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation's Board of Directors.

ELECTRICAL LINEMEN APPRECIATION DAY


The council approved Mayor Andy Moore's proclamation of April 18 as Electrical Lineman Appreciation Day, designated nationally by an act of Congress. Pointing out that electrical linemen are often "first responders during storms and other catastrophic events," the proclamation goes on to say that "these linemen put their lives at risk every day for the citizens of the Town of Smithfield with little recognition from the community regarding the danger of their work."

BUDGET WORK TO CONTINUE NEXT THURSDAY


The council recessed Tuesday's regular monthly meeting until 7 p.m. Thursday, April 11 to continue working on the town's budget for the fiscal year that begins this July 1. Before adjournment, however, Councilman Marlon Lee voiced frustrations with the budget process as it relates to long-sought improvements at Smith-Collins Park in East Smithfield (his district). He said he fears "everything is going to be wiped away" when the town manager and council decide on priorities for capital spending in the year ahead. In response, Councilman Barbour voiced frustrations of his own with unfunded requests for improvements in West Smithfield (his district): "I would love for for District 4 to get half the money they get on the other side of town," he exclaimed. Even so, he expressed support for projects at Smith-Collins Park, especially a "splash pad" that's included on a list of budget proposals. "We're looking to see how we can improve the whole town," Councilman Barbour concluded. "If one community is failing, we're all failing."



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