06/09/05 — City, county officials praised for efforts to protect base

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City, county officials praised for efforts to protect base

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on June 9, 2005 1:47 PM

Two Seymour Johnson advocates thanked the Goldsboro City Council Monday night for the city's efforts to protect the Air Force base during the recent consideration by the Base Realignment and Closure commission.

They also thanked the Wayne County Commissioners the following day.

The BRAC process "is not over yet, but we definitely won the first round," said Jimmie Edmundson, chairman of the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce's Military Affairs Committee.

Edmundson said the council "did a lot of things to ensure that we were ready and we were."

He said Friday, May 13, turned out to be a lucky day for Wayne County.

According to a June 6 article in the Air Force Times, Seymour Johnson scored at the top of the list in several categories when the BRAC task force ranked military installations.

Seymour Johnson was at the top of the charts as a fighter, bomber or unmanned aerial vehicle base.

The Seymour Support Council has been working on BRAC issues since the early 1990s, Chairman Troy Pate said. "I have never seen better support for the base than we're seeing from the current local boards."

Both the city and county boards changed zoning laws around the base to restrict development in high-noise areas and the accident-potential zones.

Local officials also have been involved in lobbying on the base's behalf in Washington, D.C.

In turn, Mayor Al King thanked both men for their work.

"I've been in the trenches with both of you," King said.

King never believed that Seymour Johnson was in any danger of closure or downsizing, he said. "The 4th Tactical Wing is the greatest fighter wing on Planet Earth. ... Why would they mess with the best?"

Other business

The City Council reviewed plans for Ashebrook Apartments, a 55-unit complex that will be built on Randall Lane, off Central Heights Road.

Councilman Jackie Warrick said that he had received calls from people concerned that the apartments would house low-income residents.

But councilmen said that the blueprints, landscaping and other detailed drawings made the complex look fairly upscale. The developer did not provide the city any information about monthly lease rates.

The council voted unanimously to approve the plans.

Also Monday, the City Council:

*Gave the owner of Raper Discount Drugs on Wayne Memorial Drive a zoning change that will allow a larger sign or more signs.

*Rezoned 11 acres on the north side of Belfast Road, next to the new U.S. 117, for general business uses.

*Approved plans for an eight-unit apartment complex for senior citizens on the east side of John Street, directly across from Graham Street.

*Granted Dwight and Elizabeth Sutton permission to open a beach bingo establishment in North Plaza shopping center on Spence Avenue.

*Approved site plans for a new Subway restaurant on Ash Street; an expansion of Goldsboro Pediatrics, off Medical Office Place; and outbuildings at Deeper Life Church Ministries, on Eleventh Street.

*Proclaimed June 5-12 as Garden Week.