10/17/12 — Store caught in annexation fight

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Store caught in annexation fight

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on October 17, 2012 1:46 PM

It's been a tumultuous three months for the Kangaroo Express location at the corner of Buck Swamp Road and Huntington Drive in what was formerly the northwestern portion of the city.

A state law left the convenience store on the outside of the city limits July 1 thanks to legislation removing the Phase 11 area from the city of Goldsboro.

While a large majority of residents, who had resisted the annexation since it was first proposed in 2004, celebrated their liberation from Goldsboro, the deannexation meant the store was no longer able to sell beer and wine products since it was outside of a municipality.

The business was able to acquire a temporary permit to continue its beer and alcohol sales, but sought to rejoin the city limits in August -- not the first time the store had asked to become a part of Goldsboro since it opened in 1998.

Seven residents of the nearby area spoke out against the proposed annexation of the store in October 2002, citing concerns about how alcohol sales could alter the neighborhood in a negative way. One person representing the applicant spoke in favor of it. That request was denied unanimously.

In August, residents voiced similar complaints, though not in as many numbers, and this time claimed there had been witnessed drug trafficking and that permitting alcohol sales there would breed prostitution. One person, the manager of the store, spoke in favor of the annexation and the measure was defeated 4-3.

At the council's Monday meeting, however, no one showed up to speak against the annexation, while three people representing the applicant and Kangaroo Express spoke for it.

Rick Sumner, who spoke on behalf of applicant Dillon Wooten, said that the store's alcohol sales made up 25 percent of the store's $1 million in annual sales, noting that would be lost sales tax to the city if the store were not able to sell beer and wine.

District 6 Councilman Gene Aycock, who voted against the measure in August, said he had done so because he saw no reason to approve it.

"No compelling reasons were presented as to why it should be approved," he said.

He, and District 1 Councilman Michael Headen, said those reasons had now been presented, including the seven jobs the store provides.

"We only heard one side," Headen said. "We can make a much more informed decision."

The measure was approved unanimously, with District 4 Councilman Rev. Charles Williams abstaining, although his was counted as a vote in the affirmative.