03/03/09 — Bell makes case to commissioners

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Bell makes case to commissioners

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on March 3, 2009 1:46 PM

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Developer John Bell addresses the Wayne County Board of Commissioners today as a room packed with Rosewood residents looks on. The Rosewood contingent opposes the proposed low-income apartment complex Bell is planning to build in the community west of Goldsboro.

The 60-plus Rosewood residents who created a standing-room-only environment at the Wayne County Board of Commissioners meeting this morning followed the board's rules for the first 10 minutes of developer John Bell's presentation -- remaining quiet while their opponent spoke about Rosewood Homes, the low-income apartment complex he plans to build off U.S. 70 behind Second Fling Consignment Shop.

But when Bell started quoting crime statistics from the properties he likens his proposed development to, that all changed.

When he said Rosewood Homes would not be a "breeding ground" for crime, some laughed.

Others shook their heads and cleared their throats loudly when he called claims that the proposed development would overpopulate area schools "misinformation."

And by the time Bell got to the third so-called "false" claim made by Rosewood residents -- that low-income housing would hurt property values in the area -- those in the audience were shouting out questions, comments and concerns.

"We know all these facts already," one woman said. "We need some questions and answers here."

"When do we the people get a chance to voice our opinions and concerns?" a man added.

"What about Myrtle Place?" another said. "I know some of the stuff that is happening over there and you're not mentioning any of that."

Board Chairman Bud Gray tried to restore order.

"We're not taking questions and answers," he said.

"We're not going to get a chance," a woman replied.

"Put your questions and answers in writing and send them to the County manager or to Mr. Bell," Gray then said.

"Who says you're going to read them?" a man replied.

"We are the people," another said. "We did elect you."

After several minutes of back and forth, one Rosewood resident did his part to quiet the crowd.

"Let the man finish," he said.

And Bell did.

The residents remained in the meeting after the developer left, vowing to each speak three minutes during the meeting's public comment period.

For more information and their thoughts, see Wednesday's News-Argus.