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Second public hearing set for June 2 on West End Plaza

Rowan County commissioners organized an emergency meeting Thursday in the wake of the board’s decision Monday to limit speakers in a public hearing regarding West End Plaza financing.
The only item on the agenda was scheduling a second public hearing to give those who couldn’t speak at the hearing required by the Local Government Commission the opportunity to be heard.
On Monday, 73 people turned out to speak against commissioners’ decision on West End Plaza financing versus nine who showed up to voice their support.
Commissioners voted to limit each side to five speakers apiece.
The Post received notification of the 6 p.m. meeting shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday.
Jim Sides, chairman of the board, apologized for calling the meeting on such short notice.
“I received a number of calls and a number of comments. You all read the editorial in (Thursday’s) paper,” Sides said. “I felt that, in the spirit of cooperation and to honor the law not only to the letter but in the spirit, it would be good for us to consider scheduling a second public hearing for the West End Plaza financing proposal and allow those individuals who did not have an opportunity to speak to voice their opinion.”
Commissioner Chad Mitchell said he was in favor of setting the second public hearing after the budget public hearing on June 2.
Sides set the date for the second hearing for June 2 at “7:30 p.m. or as soon as possible thereafter.”
“The time for each person to speak will be three minutes each. There will be a sign-up sheet,” Sides said. “All those who signed up prior to the hearing will be allowed to speak.”
Rules governing the hearing include no signage, no clapping and no open comments from the audience while the hearing is in progress.
Commissioner Jon Barber said he “believes (Thursday’s meeting) is illegal.”
“I do not feel this is an emergency meeting, that this meeting in and of itself is illegal, and would ask that this meeting be properly noticed as a regular meeting and held next week,” Barber said. “There is no hurricane. There is no tornado. The only emergency here today is a political emergency and the law does not allow for this.”
According to state law relating to public hearings, a notice of the public hearing has to be published at least 10 days before the fixed date.

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