12/22/09 — Group backs out of DGDC homes

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Group backs out of DGDC homes

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on December 22, 2009 1:46 PM

Two organizations that have been heavily involved with downtown revitalization are changing their relationship with Goldsboro, Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. executive director Julie Thompson announced Monday during the City Council's pre-meeting work session.

The non-profit Community Self-Help group, which worked to market homes as part of the city's home-buyer program, is pulling out of the city, she said. And Preservation North Carolina will close its regional office, leaving the responsibility of marketing the dozens of Goldsboro properties they oversee to staff in Raleigh.

So while PNC will continue to focus on Goldsboro from afar, Self-Help will no longer be able to help with downtown housing, Mrs. Thompson said.

"We're very sad to lose a partner," she said.

Self-Help will not move on to phase two of the downtown housing project due to the economic situation. The group experienced difficulty in marketing the houses, Mrs. Thompson said. The first house sold within a month, but the second two houses remained unsold for months before the city changed the income restrictions.

The city will be able to market the houses itself instead, Mrs. Thompson said.

A new Goldsboro Fire Department fire station might be under construction as soon as April, and the department's new truck is expected to arrive by June, Fire Chief Gary Whaley said.

The Goldsboro City Council voted Monday to approve a consent agenda that included a budget amendment to purchase land for the station and to approve a formal bid request for the concrete work on the station.

The two acres of land on Industry Court will cost $80,000. Money for the land was appropriated from the General Fund balance.

The new station will be a replacement for the small and outdated Station No. 3 on Patetown Road.

The department did not get the hoped-for federal stimulus grant money to help build the station, Whaley said.

The consent agenda was part of a light schedule during the last city council meeting of the year. The approved agenda also including a lease of about 60 FEMA lots owned by the city by resident Ben Seegars.

The council also conducted four public hearings on planning board items during the meeting, but will not take action on any of the items until the new year.

Several residents spoke out against James L. Sutton's request for rezoning a property on the north side of National Drive between Cone Street and Central Drive, listed on the agenda as a rezoning from R-16 Residential to RM-9 Residential Mobile Home, but Sutton said there was a mix-up with the paperwork.

"Maybe I filed the wrong paperwork. It's not my intention to bring a mobile home in there, it's a modular home, probably with brick foundation," he said.

A protest petition was filed with the city regarding the rezoning. Resident and community outreach chairman Johnny Dorsey is against putting a mobile home on the property, he said. Resident and adjoining property owner Ivery Murphy, who also spoke during the public comment period, was worried about the value of his property.

"Nothing in the world against Mr. James Sutton, nothing in the world. However, I am against what he is trying to do," Murphy said.

Sutton then spoke during the comment period and clarified his plans. The council did not take any action on the item.

The council members also took a moment to recognize a long-time city employee for his service to the community. Samuel W. Forte worked as a firefighter with the city fire department for more than 26 years, Mayor Al King said.

Council members spent most of the two-hour work session before the meeting in closed session, and returned to closed session following the conclusion of the meeting.