03/14/07 — Mount Olive board says 'no' to new complex

View Archive

Mount Olive board says 'no' to new complex

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 14, 2007 1:59 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The Mount Olive Planning Board on Tuesday denied a request by contractor John T. Bell to build low-income apartments next to Carver Elementary School.

The board voted not to refer Bell's special request for a special use permit to the town Board of Commissioners. The vote was 4-to-4, with chairman Wallace Horton breaking the tie.

"I supported the motion not to recommend the special use permit because it's right next door to the school. That's a major concern," Horton said.

Bell and his partner, Jim Yamin, tried to assure the planning board members that the proximity of the 24-unit complex to the school would benefit families living there. Children could walk to class, they pointed out.

"I don't see how it would be a detriment to the school," Bell said.

The developers also said that residents would have to pass a criminal background check to live in the proposed complex. They also said they would erect a fence between the apartments and the school and plant trees as a further border.

But that did not dissuade a majority of the board members.

Major Jones said the location was simply too close to the school.

"We put in a road to go to our school. The first thing you see will be the apartments. They won't even see the school. We want to attract people to our school," he said.

Jimmy Bell, George Fulghum and Lloyd Warren voted with Jones.

Planning board members who voted to refer the issue to the town board were Genoa Knode, Emil Cekada, Eva Hill and Oliver Cook. Knode, Cekeda and Hill had visited an apartment complex in Goldsboro that Bell said was similar to the one proposed for Mount Olive.

Bell said after the vote that he had invited the entire planning board to tour Ashebrooke Apartments in Goldsboro.

"Evidently they had made up their minds," he said.