04/20/10 — Residents to City Council: No 'club' in my backyard

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Residents to City Council: No 'club' in my backyard

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on April 20, 2010 1:46 PM

Some spoke about how an increase in traffic along Central Heights Road would be crippling to area residents.

Others were concerned about the prospect of late-night noise.

But the majority of the dozen-plus who turned out for a public hearing regarding Tim Harvey's request to open a "place of entertainment" on the west side of Central Heights, between New Hope Road and Hunter's Creek Drive, said the safety of their neighbors, children and elderly parents was at the heart of their opposition to the pending request.

Harvey was the first to speak, telling council members his desire to provide "something for people to do" in Goldsboro prompted his request to open a venue he said could draw everything from national music acts to local wedding receptions.

"There are so many different things we want to do there," he said. "As far as the community goes, I understand they are concerned ... but I think what we're trying to do will really be good for the community."

And it would be good for the local economy, too, he added.

"I just think it will do the community good," Harvey said. "It would fill every hotel here."

But many of those who live in the neighborhoods that surround Harvey's choice of location were not satisfied.

"I am not opposed to them bringing an entertainment center into Goldsboro ... however, I'm opposed to it being in my neighborhood," said Cornelius Harris, one of the first to speak out against the conditional land use request. "Central Heights Road is a high-traffic area. It's bad enough with the school traffic and with teenagers driving."

Ella Jean Smith agreed.

"There is enough traffic there now," she said.

But Mrs. Smith was more concerned about the type of people she said businesses like the one Harvey wants to open attract.

"I have little grandchildren ... and they stay with me a lot on the weekends and I don't want nothing to harm (them)," she said. "And I know if there is ABC permits and if there's drinking, there is going to be loud noise and the list goes on and on."

Jerry Mitchell took Mrs. Smith's argument a bit further.

"It's not too many yards away from a middle school ... then two miles down the road a high school and an elementary school," he said, adding that often times, schools have evening events that put those young people on the roads after the sun goes down. "Sometimes, on Friday night, sometimes on Saturday night, these kids are getting back to their homes from football games at the same time that folks who would be legally drinking inside (Harvey's proposed club). ...We all know the dangers that causes."

Several others also addressed the council during the hearing, wishing Harvey well, while, at the same time voicing the same concerns and opposition their neighbors had already added to the record.

And after the last speaker had his say, some members of the board, too, chimed in.

"I've met with most of the people who have come up here tonight to speak on this thing and I'm totally against it," said Jackie Warrick, the councilman who represents those neighborhoods.

"Seeing how I'm a reverend, I think I'm with him, too," added the Rev. Charles Williams.

No formal vote was had Monday, as the Planning Commission is expected to present its recommendation at the council's first meeting in May.

But Harris seemed to sum up just how the vast majority of those living in the neighborhoods that would surround the business feel about it.

"I am strictly opposed to it," he said. "In my neighborhood? No."