11/28/07 — Planning Commission says 'no' to halfway house request

View Archive

Planning Commission says 'no' to halfway house request

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on November 28, 2007 1:45 PM

Operation Transition Inc. will not have a jail-to-society transition house on West Walnut Street soon.

The company submitted two requests to the Goldsboro Planning Department -- rezone the property from neighborhood business to general business conditional district and to approve a conditional use permit to allow for more people to live in the house.

But the planning commission denied both at their meeting Monday night.

The building, located between North George Street and North Virginia Street, is part of a neighborhood that the city has worked hard to improve, commission members said.

Allowing the building to be placed there would hinder the progress that has already been made as well as the area's potential for continued growth, they added.

"As much as I commiserate with the people coming out of prison, I think we'd be shooting ourselves in the foot if we approved this," commission member Hal Keck said.

Others agreed that the idea of the company is a good one, but they are unsure Goldsboro is the best place for the idea to be implemented.

"I feel like anywhere they go in Goldsboro, they're going to run into the same thing," commission member Bill Winslow said.

Commission Chairman Chris Boyette agreed.

"This is a classic example of a great idea in the wrong place," he said.

A public hearing was held at the City Council's Nov. 19 meeting where several people spoke either for or against the halfway house.

Local lawyers Randy Sauls and Charlie Gaylor agreed with the planning commission members -- "don't put it in Goldsboro."

And the reasoning behind the comments wasn't all about who would live in the house but how the house wouldn't blend in with the revitalization efforts that have been made by the city and the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp.

Advocates of the halfway house asked everyone to "look into their moral conscience" and "treat all people like human beings."

Timothy Whitfield wanted everyone to see past their preconceptions about formerly incarcerated people and allow them to live their lives like anybody else.

"These people need someone that won't stereotype them," he said. "We can make Goldsboro, Godsboro."

City Council is expected to make a decision on the rezoning and conditional use permit requests at their meeting Dec. 3.