09/08/04 — Mount Olive annexes land in hopes of attracting Wal-Mart

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Mount Olive annexes land in hopes of attracting Wal-Mart

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on September 8, 2004 2:02 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The town has annexed five pieces of land in the hopes that Wal-Mart is coming.

The Mount Olive town board accepted a petition to annex about 20 acres at the intersection of U.S. 117 and N.C. 55 in August and scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday night.

Hugh Oates and the other land owners had requested a change in zoning in December. Town commissioners granted the zoning request and changed it from agricultural-residential use to commercial use for a shopping center. They had reportedly been asked by a real estate agent to prepare for "a large shopping center."

Mayor Ruff Huggins said the board hopes it's Wal-Mart. He said the purpose of the voluntary annexation, which passed unanimously, was to make the land available. Company officials have made no formal announcement, "but they're looking at it real hard. ... They have not given us a time frame or made a formal commitment. ... I don't think they'll take a year."

An employee of Happy Days Day Care Center said she had heard the center would be torn down. She asked if she would be given ample notice.

The mayor said a corporation that size would probably give plenty of time to the employees and probably help them find another job.

Inspection fees

The board voted to charge fire inspection fees to help defray costs of training for regulation changes. Greg Wiggins, the fire code enforcement officer, says some businesses are required to have inspections every year, some every two years and some every three years. In some cases, he said, the inspections can reduce a company's insurance premium.

He said he checked other towns of comparable size and Wayne County, and the proposed fees were lower.

Operational permits for things like amusement buildings, carnivals and fairs, and construction permits are $30.

Periodic inspections run from $25 to $65, depending on the type business. A small apartment building, for example, would owe $25 for an annual inspection if it had 10 units or less. If it had 21 or more apartments, the inspection fee would be $65.

Street improvements

The town board awarded a contract to Ormond Utilities of Kinston for a $110,000 project to improve Short Street between Center and Chestnut streets. The project will include water and sewer, street improvements and curb and gutters. The town will pay for it with a state community development grant.

Audit contract

The board extended Jerry Britt's contract for another year to provide the town audit. His contract will be for $11,500, which is a $2,500 increase over the current contract. The town manager said Britt did a lot of free work this past year, helping town workers catch up from employees being out sick for an extended time.

Airport appointment

The board accepted the resignation of Airport Committee member Joe Reed and appointed Aaron Long to finish his unexpired term, which ends July 18, 2005.