East Spencer resident demands town fix paving, property issues

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 10, 2020

By Shavonne Potts

EAST SPENCER — In a heated 10-minute exchange during Monday’s town board meeting, East Spencer resident Carolyn Logan demanded the board address ongoing paving issues that have left standing water on her and other properties.

Prior to Logan speaking, Town Attorney Tom Brooke addressed the establishment of an ordinance that would place a time limit on public comments. Brooke said he was asked by Town Administrator James Bennett to look into what policies the town could establish to “speed up public comments.”

Brooke said the town doesn’t currently have a policy in place but it could require a maximum of three minutes for each speaker and encourage large groups who discuss the same topic to elect a spokesperson. He said during public comment the board should not address the speaker.

Brooke said the speakers should refrain from public attacks, obscene language and politicking. The board made no decision, but it decided to have Brooke clean up the language in the policy and bring it to the Nov. 17 work session.

Brooke immediately told Logan she had three minutes to speak — a statement to which she objected since the board had not approved a policy. If the board wanted to establish a time limit for public comments, they should have a list of rules available before a speaker addresses the board, she said.

Logan told Brooke he could have Police Chief Sharon Hovis escort her out, saying she’s been escorted out of Salisbury City Council meetings.

“I’ve come up here time and time again, and y’all have made me promises that you have not kept,” she said.

Logan said she came with a legitimate concern and Mallett told her to “do what you have to do.”

Her issue goes back several years. Water has built up at the end of her East Hall Street property where the driveway meets the pavement. Potholes on her street make it difficult to maneuver down the road.

Alderwoman Deloris High had the same drainage issues, Logan said, but the town already fixed High’s property.

“So why is it OK for the city to fix hers and not fix mine when it’s the same exact problem,” Logan asked the board.

Brooke interrupted Logan to say he started the timer over for another three minutes.

She said Bennett sent her a letter from Stephen Wall with Yates Construction who said the state was not responsible for residential pavement. Logan said she called Wall, who said he only responded about his expertise in such repairs.

“All this bogus stuff; we’re not doing it,” Logan said.

The board did not address Logan but a few members did speak up to allow her the extra time to speak. Alderman John Noble later said he felt three minutes was not near enough time for public comments.

Bennett pointed out to the board later during the meeting that the town was “sitting on $1.5 million.”

“If that’s the sign of a crook then you need more crooks,” he said.

In other business:

• The board approved a zoning variance request from a resident the Rev. John E. Jones about property built in 1984 at the corner of Long and East Earnhardt streets that has two homes on it. Jones hoped they could be divided in order to sell. The property and others like it were annexed in 2014. The lot size is 11,375 square feet and can’t be split into an equal 6,000 square feet, which is required by the current ordinance.

Brandon Emory, owner of Alliance Code Enforcement and who handles the town’s code enforcement, said Jones contacted him months ago about splitting the property up. Emory contacted the N.C. School of Government regarding how Jones could comply. Emory was told Jones could be allowed to split the property as requested if the ordinance was considered an undue hardship. The board voted to go along with Emory’s recommendations.