The newly installed Board of Commissioners continue to move forward. January 6 they met at 5pm to hear staff comments regarding the sign ordinance. The current sign ordinance was adopted in April 2019 after the previous board rushed it to a vote. According to staff members that version presented several problems and they requested an opportunity to modify it.
Specifically, the 2019 version omitted all verbiage pertaining to pole signs and focused exclusively on monument signs. Without the verbiage, businesses weren’t able to request a variance. The system seemed to be working until a pet store opened on the corner of Main Street and Camden Roads. The topography doesn’t allow for a monument sign.
Town staff also encountered issues during the recent election regarding political signs. When signs could be posted and where they could be posted became a hotly contested issue. After nearly an hour of debate the board voted to adopt the changes proposed by the staff. Specifically, pole sign verbiage is back in the ordinance and political signs are now being referred to as ‘non-commercial’ signs. The new(ish) ordinance has to go to the county planning board before it can be fully adopted.
At 6pm there was an informal meeting with representatives conducting the ADA assessment of town property. They did address the audience for a few minutes but the meeting was generally an opportunity for public input and for the public to view infographics they’ve created.
At 7pm the board reconvened for their regular meeting and an update on the public safety facility building. They’re moving forward with construction to retrofit the Ace Hardware building for use as the new temporary police station and expect to be moved in by March. The old police station will be used for various fire training exercises before demolition in April.
The site plan for the public safety facility needs to be reviewed by the inspections department and insurance agents before they bid the project out. If the proposed timeline is followed, they’ll break ground in May.
Construction will take place in three phases:
Phase I – Demo and clear the current site. This phase should take about 30 days. The road separating town hall from the police station and the parking closest to town hall will be closed for the duration of construction.
Phase II – This is the building phase and is expected to take 16 months. The parking lot behind town hall and a portion of the walking trail will be closed during this phase. But they’re adding a walkway from the front of town hall to the back of the building and they’re keeping the drive-thru window in case they have future need of it.
Phase III – The police and fire departments will move into the new facility and the old fire station will be demolished. They will add a driveway and parking for the fire department.
The entire project should be completed in march 2022.
Commissioner Legge asked about the police memorial and staff reassured him it would be stored until the project is completed and then repositioned in a prominent location.
The board also discussed a time for the new commissioners and new members of the historic committee to view the Thomas Oakman Campbell Chapel and the mill house/museum. They agreed to start at the chapel at 5pm on February 3rd and work their way to the museum. The board voted to approve the nominees for the various committees with one addition.
During the December 16 meeting the board directed town manager Melissa Adams to solicit bids for the demolition of the Parish House. Monday night she advised the board bids ranged from $7,715.00-$21,000. Faced with the astronomical cost of rehabilitating the building, the board voted 3/2 to demolish the Parish House.