03/23/05 — Council presides over public hearings

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Council presides over public hearings

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on March 23, 2005 1:54 PM

Darby Place residents say they feel less safe since a fence was removed between their road and an apartment complex.

Three people asked the Goldsboro City Council on Monday night to require the fence be reinstalled behind the apartment/condominum complex on Harding Drive, just north of the YMCA's soccer fields.

"The landowner has been in violation of her zoning since she took that fence down," said Ken Whichard, a Darby Place resident.

But a city official said that Kathy Woodard, who bought the complex last year, was mistakenly told that she could replace the fence with a row of wax myrtles, currently 3-4 feet tall.

"It was only after we did more research that we realized it was a requirement," Planning Director Randy Guthrie told the council.

Mrs. Woodard is seeking a change in the special-use permit granted her property back in 1996. The developer agreed to install a fence along the 470-foot rear property line as a condition of building the apartments.

But a section of the fence was damaged during a hurricane a few years ago and never repaired, neighbors said. Recently, about 200 feet of the fence were removed and replaced with the plantings. Since then, neighbors feel they have lost privacy.

"You can stand in my bathroom or kitchen and see right into those apartments, and they can see us," Whichard said.

"That shrubbery doesn't offer any privacy or security," said his neighbor, Calvin Robinson.

Elizabeth Whichard presented a petition with 25 signatures on behalf of the street's residents. Many are worried about people who are cutting through their peoperties as a shortcut from Harding Drive to Berkeley Boulevard.

"We parents and grandparents purchased lots on a cul-de-sac because it is a safe place for children," Mrs. Whichard said.

Jeffrey Kornegay, of Kornegay Engineering, defended Mrs. Woodard's actions. After she bought the apartments last July, she wanted to clean up the property and put into a better buffer to the Darby Place homes.

"That landscaping should fill in and block views and people crossing," he said. "She has tried very hard to make the property look nice."

The City Planning Commission will review Mrs. Woodard's request at its meeting Monday night. It will make a recommendation for the council at its April 4 meeting.

Other business

The council did not attract any speakers to its other hearings.

Bellene Holdings is asking for almost 8 acres on the east end of Corbett Street, off McLain Street, to be rezoned R-16 residential. If granted, that would allow single-family homes on 1/3-acre lots.

Keith Peten is asking the city to rezone less than an acre on the west side of Harrell Street, off Dixie Trail. If the rezoning is granted, he plans to give the land to Habitat for Humanity to build a single-family home.

Also Monday, the council agreed to assist the developers of Berkeley Commons in widening Berkeley Boulevard to multiple lanes in front of the shopping center.

The city's cost will be at most $150,000, which will likely be reimbursed by the N.C. Department of Transportation.

Also, the council:

*Agreed to investigate a request by CDW Properties Inc. to annex nearly 38 acres on Patetown Road, across from the Country Day Road intersection.

*Ordered sections of South Center Street and Chestnut Street closed Friday, April 15, and Saturday, April 16, for the De-Rail-A-Bration festival.

*Awarded a $8,985 contract to Eastern Environmental Inc. for the removal of asbestos from the Salvation Army's shelter during its planned renovation. The asbestos is in 2,600 square feet of vinyl flooring covering. The money is coming from Community Development funds.

*Condemned dilapidated houses at 902 and 915 Anderson Drive, 810/816 East End Circle and a business at 1706 N. William Street.

*Accepted $1,264 in federal property forfeiture funds for the police department.

*Proclaimed March 28-April 3 as "Community Development Week."