11/27/07 — Judge asks for zoning change for new bar

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Judge asks for zoning change for new bar

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on November 27, 2007 1:46 PM

A local Superior Court judge's property could soon be used for a new bar on South Slocumb Street.

Judge Jerry Braswell owns the building, which is located between Olivia Lane and Wilmington Avenue.

Recently, he submitted a rezoning request to the Goldsboro Planning Depart-ment to change the property from neighborhood business to general business conditional district to allow for "a place of entertainment with ABC (Alco-holic Beverage Control) permits."

But, Braswell said he has nothing in the proposed project, which was discussed at Monday night's meeting of the city planning commission.

"I own the building, but I lease it out," he said. "I have no set plans as to what will exactly be there. From my understanding, it's just a lounge area, but it's nothing that I will be operating."

Planning officials said they believe the intent is to make the building a sort of higher class cigar bar.

"From my understanding, Braswell wants it to be a place where professionals can come and have a drink after work," said Sally Johnson, administrative assistant in the city planning and community development department.

Planning Director Randy Guthrie said he didn't exactly know all of the facts of the request because he didn't have it in front of him, but he said he does know one thing -- the City Council will not make a decision at its next council meeting.

A public hearing must be held first, and then the council will decide whether to change the zoning at the following meeting.

The public hearing on this matter is scheduled for the Dec. 17 council meeting.

The rezoning might not be the problem with the "entertainment place," however.

Concerns are with the crime that might come along with it.

What usually happens is, planning officials said, when a place loses its popularity, the security becomes lax, and more serious problems start to occur.

"It's like a teen club," Guthrie said. "I have never seen a teen club that didn't turn into a bar sooner or later, and that's when things happen."

As far as crime statistics go in the area, police Chief Tim Bell said that area of town has "their share of crime."

Olivia Lane and Slocumb Street come up frequently in public record accounts with numerous reports of breaking and enterings, thefts and even murders.

Just in June, there was a fatal shooting on Olivia Lane.