Council approves rezoning

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 16, 2008

AHOSKIE – A rezoning request heard here Tuesday morning by the Ahoskie Town Council drew concern.

Two individuals, both representing Hertford County Public Schools (HCPS), said they were concerned about a rezoning request for property near the Ahoskie Elementary School.

Joe Murray – a representative for Charles W. Haskett Jr., Michael Basnight and others – requested a 4.34 acre piece of property located on West First Street be rezoned from residential (R-6) to Business (B-2).

The parcel, according to information provided to the town council, is adjacent to property with zonings ranging from residential, business and office and industrial.

“This property is surrounded by other zonings and therefore would not be spot zoning,” Ahoskie Town Manager Tony Hammond said.

HCPS Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Basham said he wanted to speak concerning the issue.

“I’m here because Ahoskie Elementary School is located across from the property to be rezoned,” Dr. Basham said. “I’m not opposing the rezoning, but I do have a concern for the safety of our children.”

The superintendent said he would not like to see a convenience store or other high-traffic business located on the property because he believed it would be a detriment to the safety of the children.

“I offer to you my concern about our children’s safety, but I trust that you will look at the matter and make the right decision,” Dr. Basham closed.

Assistant Superintendent of Schools Larry J. Cooper followed those remarks by echoing Dr. Basham’s concerns.

“We don’t want to stand in the way of progress,” he said. “We want what is right and proper for the students of Hertford County as I believe you do as well.”

Cooper said he would urge the board to study putting a stoplight at the intersection between the school and the new property on West First Street if they approved the rezoning.

Murray then spoke concerning the efforts to have the property rezoned.

“I would like to ease the concerns of the superintendent,” he said. “The people who intend to purchase the property will be putting an office building there. It will not be something that would hinder the school. We wouldn’t want that either.”

Basnight then spoke as well, explaining the sale of the property and that he believed the addition of the office complex would be beneficial to the town of Ahoskie.

Hammond said DOT was still doing work on West First Street and indicated that any stoplight request would have to be forwarded to them.

“My people would welcome a traffic light as well,” Murray interjected.

After the closing of the public hearing, Councilwoman Elaine Myers made a motion to rezone the property with Councilman O.S. “Buck” Suiter offering a second. It passed on a 4-0 vote with Councilman Ronald Gatling excused from the meeting.