12/22/04 — Fremont board denies zoning request

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Fremont board denies zoning request

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on December 22, 2004 2:00 PM

FREMONT -- The Fremont town board and Planning Board denied, in split votes Tuesday night, a rezoning request for a vacant building.

The property owner complained and threatened legal action after the votes.

"My civil rights have been violated, and you'll be hearing from my attorney," said Dorothy F. Edwards.

She had asked that the town change the zoning of her property at 312 S. Goldsboro St. from residential to neighborhood business. She had written to the board that her family had used the property for more than 80 years for business. She said she would rent the building but would not allow alcohol sales.

But Jimmy Ballance, a Planning Board member, said the request was "spot zoning" and could create legal problems.

When the town board considered the request, Alderman Billy Harvey said he had helped change the zoning ordinance because the town was having problems with liquor sales and shootings.

"I would like to see businesses come to town," Harvey said. "If we did change it, the board might lose control, but if we didn't, we might lose minority businesses."

Alderman Leroy Ruffin said Ms. Edwards "has a building that she cannot use." But if the town rezoned it, the new occupants might apply for an alcohol license. "The state is real lenient in giving these licenses," he added.

Police Chief Ben Reid said he would like to keep the zoning as it is.

"We should listen to what the Planning Board says," added Alderman Leon Mooring.

"I would hate not to allow a neighborhood business," Harvey said. "I still would like to keep that concept."

Harvey's motion to allow the zoning change was seconded by Alderman Sylvester Artis. But the other four aldermen opposed the motion.