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Group asks for answers on old Shuford School

GRANITE QUARRY — Members of the Granite Quarry Community Development Club had plenty of questions Monday night about what’s going on at the old Shuford School on Dunns Mountain Road.
Speaking to the Board of Aldermen, Catherine Krider cited concerns about vandalism, possible drug use, the theft of copper, new construction and what she described as “a growing number of people in that building.”
Krider added that police cars seem to be there often, or sitting across from the old school, keeping an eye on the property.
Neighbors to the former school are thankful for the police presence, Krider said, “but we’re still not hearing as to what it is.”
Krider, a senior citizen, lives within a block of the school, and she says the neighborhood has many other seniors who are concerned about the activity.
“We just need some answers from the town board,” she added. “… We want to keep our community as it has been.”
Doc Corpening Jr., president of the club, asked whether the place is a halfway house.
“What is it?” he asked the aldermen. “I can’t really address you all, until I hear from you all.”
Mayor Bill Feather said he wasn’t sure the board knew exactly what’s going on at the school. Alderman Mike Brinkley said Monday night was the first he had heard about the concerns.
“We just need to review the situation,” Brinkley said.
In June 2013, the town’s Zoning Board of Adjustment held a hearing for the building’s owner, Johnny Morgan, a minister who asked for a conditional-use permit allowing the housing of up to four people at the former school.
The Police Department and Fire Department signed off on the request, and the zoning board approved the conditional-use permit. The matter never went to the Board of Aldermen.
Members of the Community Development Club said the school had for a time been used as a church, and they thought it continued to serve as a food ministry. They speculated at Monday’s meeting speculated that people living at the school also were helping with the food distribution, but they also contended more than four people were living on the site.
“I’m thinking there’s about 16 to 18 there,” Corpening said.
Ruth Corpening, a member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment, said she recalled the June 2013 meeting. The board considered the matter as a church asking to house four people, she said. Ruth Corpening added it was no longer a church.
Feather said town officials, through Zoning Administrator Susan Closner, should determine whether Morgan is in compliance with zoning and the conditional-use permit granted last year.
The mayor also suggested the town help coordinate a meeting between Morgan and the Granite Quarry Community Development Club at a neutral site, such as Town Hall.
A resident requested that someone from the town be at whatever meeting occurs, because she was worried about tempers possibly flaring.
To her knowledge, Krider said, people had not talked to Morgan about their concerns.
“We’re just in the dark,” she added.
A large contingent from the Granite Quarry Community Development Club attended the meeting.
In another matter, aldermen passed a golf cart ordinance, governing the use of electric carts on town streets. Voting for the measure were Brinkley, Mary Ponds and Arin Wilhelm. Mayor Pro Tem Jim LaFevers voted against it.
From the audience, resident Gail Gurley of North Main Street spoke against electric golf carts on town streets, saying it was too dangerous. Her own personal research showed the municipalities of High Point, Archdale and Asheboro prohibited golf carts on the streets, she said.
Gurley added the electric golf carts don’t make enough noise, “and I like to hear what’s coming at me.” “I just don’t think it’s a good idea,” she said.
William Honbarrier, 70, of Oak Street spoke in favor of the golf cart ordinance. He described his severe back problems and how he relies on a golf cart if he has to walk more than 50 feet.
“I see it as a plus for those of us who have problems,” Honbarrier said, describing how he could use the cart to visit neighbors or go to the store and post office. “It would be a real asset to me.”
When the golf cart ordinance was presented Monday night, Feather said he had added a provision — open to discussion — for the ordinance to sunset Nov. 1, if there were no board action to continue with it.
LaFevers said he hoped the board could have a detailed account by then of all the positives and negatives occurring in relation to the new ordinance.
Brinkley said the way the ordinance was written, it sounded as though a golf cart could not cross U.S. 52. He also argued against the sunset provision, saying it would be unfair to people who had bought golf carts during the months the ordinance was in effect.
Brinkley also questioned the requirement for a rear-view mirror and reflective triangles on the back of golf carts. Otherwise, he was in favor of the ordinance.
In its final vote, the board approved the ordinance and said it should allow for crossing U.S. 52 but not riding on U.S. 52. Aldermen also got rid of the sunset provision. Wilhelm said, “We can always change it later.”
In other business Monday night:
• Town Administrator Dan Peters announced Town Clerk Lydia Larios had resigned to accept a job with the Salisbury Housing Authority. The town will advertise the position and seek a replacement.
• Peters also reported that Fire Chief Mark Troublefield submitted his resignation but agreed to continue on with the town as fire marshal and chaplain. Dale Brown was introduced as the interim chief.
• As part of recognizing National Public Health Week, Granite Quarry will have a walk around Granite Lake Park at 2 p.m. Friday. The Rowan County Health Department is helping with the program.
• The board will hold a budget work session at 5 p.m. May 5.
• A public hearing on the town’s 2014-2015 budget will be held at 6:30 p.m. June 2 at the Town Hall. • Spring clean-up days in Granite Quarry will make dumpsters available to residents May 8, 9 and 10.
• The town will sponsor an Easter egg hunt at 3 p.m. Sunday at Civic Park for children up to fifth grade. The Easter Bunny will be in attendance.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

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