County to file lawsuit against contractor, special use permits raise concerns

by Kelly Corbett
Wednesday, November 14, 2012


During a closed session Tuesday, Nov. 13, held before the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners regular meeting, commissioners decided to file a lawsuit for a defect in work on repairs to the W. Allen Cobb Judicial Annex at the courthouse complex.

Once the regular meeting began, vice chairman Jason Thompson said consent agenda item No. 10, an adoption of budget amendments, was discussed during the closed session and he motioned to move the item off of the agenda.

Chairman Jonathan Barfield added that the contractor’s work, completed by Clancy and Theys Construction Company and totalling $3,945,900, was not up to par. 

The lawsuit is expected to be filed in 30-45 days, and will then be made public.

Also during closed session, the board decided the salary of Tammy Beasley, the elected register of deeds, at $55,370.

About three hours ahead of schedule, the board heard a presentation about a special use permit request for a 192-unit apartment complex previously denied 7-0 during the New Hanover County Planning Board meeting on Oct. 4. 

The planning board said the Stephens Pointe Apartments project, located at 8703 Stephens Church Road, would endanger public health and safety with increased traffic and the current configuration of the intersection at U.S. 17 and Stephens Church Road.

Two people spoke against and one spoke for the permit before the board unanimously motioned to grant the permit with the condition of improving the intersection pending North Carolina Department of Transportation approval. 

Thompson made the motion, but said he does not agree with how the burden of proof requires expert testimonies.

“It’s pointless for us to deny it, because it goes right to superior court,” he said.

Sheriff Ed McMahon appeared toward the end of the meeting to apologize to about 15 people who appeared to speak in opposition to the permit but were locked out of the county courthouse.

McMahon said a deputy locked the door on his way out, but said he will fix the problem and make sure it does not happen again.

Another special use permit concern arose when the board motioned 3-1 to approve a permit for a drive-thru convenience food store at 5111 Carolina Beach Road with the condition to put fence and concrete barriers up to address noise and light concerns by nearby residents.

Three residents spoke against the permit, but Thompson reiterated his earlier sentiments about the necessity of expert testimonies.

“The evidence is not going to be on the residents’ side,” Thompson said. “That’s the way it is.”

Commissioner Brian Berger ended the meeting expressing the need to educate and inform the opposition regarding special use permits if the permits continue to be allowed.


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