03/07/04 — Theater plays catch-up at special city meeting

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Theater plays catch-up at special city meeting

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on March 7, 2004 2:03 AM

All-Star Entertainment Corp. is almost ready to get a building permit to build a 14-screen theater in Goldsboro.

But first it must pay $19,000 to a state environmental fund for possible potential increases in nitrogen runoff caused by the development.

The Goldsboro City Council held a special meeting Friday to consider the site and landscape plan for the theater. The council deferred a decision Monday on the plan, saying it preferred to wait until the stormwater management plan had been approved by the city engineer.

Council members were concerned about drainage because of past flooding problems in the area.

The engineering approval came Wednesday, and property owner Sue Fallin requested a special council meeting. City Manager Richard Slozak said that the city did hold special council meetings upon request, but that the applicant had to pay for the extra meeting. The fee is $50 per councilman.

However, timing is especially important for this project because another company, United Entertainment Corp., is planning to build a 12-screen movie theater. Now, All-Star, which is planned for the south side of Berkeley Boulevard between Central Heights Road and New Hope Road, is a little farther along in the process than United Entertainment.

United Entertainment's theater is planned to be off the Martin Luther King Expressway near the Best Western Motel and Norwood Avenue. A representative from United Entertainment has said the area couldn't support two multiplex theaters.

Before approving All-Star's stormwater plan, the city engineering department required that the company resize three retention ponds on the property. The ponds are deeper and larger now.

"All runoff goes to the ponds," Slozak said.

All Star will also have to pay $19,000 to the state's Ecosystem Enhancement Fund as an offset payment for nitrogen runoff, before being issued a building permit.

"We'll have to have the receipt in hand," said Assistant City Planning Director Jimmy Rowe.

Slozak said that building the movie theater would not increase the drainage problems in the area.

The city has been working on ways to alleviate flooding in the area, including cleaning out a ditch near Adamsville Baptist Church. The ditch is identified by a "blue line" on U.S. Geological Survey Maps and is protected by the stringent Neuse River buffer rules.

Slozak said the buffer rules prohibit the city from using equipment to clean the ditch. Instead it can only prune by hand. Trees in the ditch can't be cut down, though branches can be trimmed.

The state also told the city that the ditch could only be cleared out from the church side. Slozak said that parts of the area were overgrown, so it would be labor intensive. The city plans to get prison labor to do the work.

A state transportation engineer has said the drainage pipes under Berkeley Boulevard are too small, but that they aren't usually replaced until they deteriorate. The state said it would consider replacing the pipes earlier, but only if an agreement to keep the ditches in the area clean were in place.

Slozak said that after the city cleaned out the ditch near the church, it would be the church's responsibility to keep it clean.