Written by: Elizabeth Blevins
During the July 23rd Board meeting, the Commissioners voted to hold a Public Hearing on August 20th at 7pm, to give the public an opportunity to express their opinion about the sale or lease of town property to the Lone Survivor Foundation. The town is obligated to advertise public hearings for 30 days prior to holding the meeting. That advertising has already begun.
However, immediately following the July 23rd meeting, Commissioners Larson and Mitchell demanded a special meeting to discuss rescheduling the August 20th hearing.
Ostensibly, the Special Meeting tomorrow night is to discuss rescheduling to a time after the Commissioners have received the results of the Hope Mills Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Plan from the McAdams Group. If you’ve been following along you know the McAdams Group evaluated all available lands in Hope Mills with public feedback and will present the Board with their opinion of which areas should be developed and how. The Board has no legal obligation to follow their recommendations.
The 2030 SW Cumberland County Land Use Plan dictates lake bed #2 as recreational. We already know it’s official designation, the McAdams plan will simply offer their opinion on what kind of recreation should be applied there. We also know Hope Mills Lake Park, Heritage Park and the golf course are the Board’s priorities. But most importantly, we know there are no disposable funds available to develop these areas.
Until yesterday, all parties involved indicated the report would be available in September. Now, according to Mitchell’s quote in the Observer article, it could be as late as October. It’s apparently a fluid situation without a solid date.
Which means, at tomorrow night’s Special Meeting, the Board won’t be rescheduling the Public Hearing so much as cancelling it.
Their only reported reason for ‘rescheduling’ is so they can have the results of the McAdams plan in hand before hearing public comments. But why? Hearing public comments doesn’t obligate them to any course of action. It doesn’t matter which event comes first.
If they receive those results in October, as suggested by Mitchell, it will be sometime in November before the Public Hearing can be held…remember they have to vote on it and then advertise it for 30 days. Which means the public furor will have died down. People will have forgotten.
Also be aware that Commissioners Larson and Mitchell insisted on scheduling this Special Meeting during a time when they knew Mayor Warner couldn’t attend.
So the questions remain…are they manipulating the schedule in an effort to manipulate the public? Are they hoping that by adding more distance from the July 23rd meeting they might gain back some measure of the control they feel they lost? Let’s not forget that Commissioner Mitchell has spent the better part of a week using his social media and the Fayetteville Observer to criticize Mayor Warner. In fact, I’ve heard he has an op-ed piece appearing in tomorrow’s edition. I’m certain that will be a real page turner.
Or are these simply knee-jerk reactions from an incompetent Board who keep making rash decisions to compensate for their previous bad decisions.
There is NO legitimacy to their claim that they need to hold the public hearing AFTER they receive the Parks & Rec. survey. The truth is, it doesn’t matter if they hear from the public before or after those results come in. It make sense to leave the schedule as it is.
But…if they do choose to reschedule…it simply gives me more time to rally the troops. There are hundreds of thousands of veterans advocacy groups that would find this issue particularly interesting. If the Public Hearing doesn’t occur until November, I have time to contact all of them.
Have concerns about these issues? Contact the Board and let them know!