03/07/06 — Developer decides not to build low-income complex

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Developer decides not to build low-income complex

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 7, 2006 1:53 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- A developer has abandoned plans to build low-income apartments in eastern Mount Olive.

Mayor Ruff Huggins told the Mount Olive Town Board of Commissioners Monday night that a representative of Evergreen Construction sent him a memo Monday saying the company failed to qualify for a loan from the federal Housing Finance Agency to build a 24-apartment complex on a lot between Carver Elementary School and Bell Avenue.

Neighbors were opposing the apartments' construction, saying they feared increased noise, crime, traffic and lower property values.

The company received the support of the town Planning Board last month for a special use permit needed to start work. The issue had not come before the Town Board, which has final say.

One of the neighbors, Nan Hatcher, spoke before the mayor's announcement, expressing the group's concerns.

In other business, commissioners awarded contracts totaling about $562,000 to Empire Construction to install water and sewer lines to Mount Olive College, subject to the town receiving a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Engineers with KCI Associates told town commissioners the details of the grant are being ironed out now, and they expect to receive the final approval in a few days. The pre-construction conference could be held at the end of the week.

Commissioners also approved a resolution to reject the bids opened in January for building the new sewer plant and to re-advertise for bids. Town Attorney Carroll Turner said an error in the town's request for proposals caused confusion, and all of the bids came in over the budgeted amount for the project.

"We feel it's best to reject them all and start over," he said. "The engineers already put together an ad, and we start advertising (today)."

Commissioners voted to lease-purchase an unequipped police car to replace one that was recently lost in an accident.

The $18,000 agreement with Southern Bank is $10,000 cheaper than it would have been because the Police Department will reuse lights and other equipment out of the old car.

The board also discussed selling surplus items on the Internet. Town commissioners voted to declare 20 Fire Department pagers surplus equipment and take bids on www.govdeal.com.

The town has already sold a 1977 fire truck on the Web site. A local person had offered $300, but the bids on the Internet started at $200 and rose to $1,531. The town is taking the $1,531.

Commissioners also voted to declare a backhoe and jet sprayer surplus and dispose of them the same way.