Up & Coming Weekly

August 23, 2022

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 9 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM AUGUST 24 - 30, 2022 UCW 9 Fayetteville City Council member D.J. Haire is excited to be back on City Council for his eleventh term. Haire is the longest-serving council member on the current council. He was first sworn into office in December of 1997, and remained until November 2013. He won the district seat again in 2017, and has continued to maintain his seat representing District 4. e 63-year-old bested challenger omas Greene by an overwhelming majority. He was sworn in by North Carolina Justice Mike Morgan. "I think it went very well, just like everyone else, we're always hoping for voters to come out. So with those that came out, we're very honored and thankful for the number [of votes]that we received. Very grateful," Haire said. District 4 includes Bonnie Doone, Cambridge, Glen Reilly, Lake Valley, Mallard Creek, Scotty Hills, Stewart's Creek and Woodfield. One of the most recent projects for Haire included working with the state to drop the speed limit on sections of Pamalee Drive, Cliffdale Road and Stoney Point Road. He wanted the speed limit to change to 35 miles per hour for each section. However, the North Carolina Department of Trans- portation — which owns the roads — decided to change the speed limit on Pamalee Drive and Cliffdale Road from 50 to 45 mph. For Stoney Point Road, the NCDOT changed the speed limit from 55 mph to 45 mph. "I think that's a great improvement to slow down cars in that major thorough- fare that is surrounded by residential neighborhoods," Haire said. Another successful project he is proud of is the extension of zoning notification for neighborhoods. Previously only houses within 500 feet would receive notification of a new zoning permit. Now, that notification area is 1,000 feet. "In my district we're saying that [the residents] were not receiving the notices and it was because they were outside of that 500 feet but were still in the neighborhood that encompassed the zoning for construction," Haire said. Looking to the future, Haire wants to continue to focus on small local businesses and encourage and support them in his district. As a second- generation small business estate investor, Haire believes the community is backed by small busi- nesses. According to Haire, $400,000 has been dedicated to helping local businesses in the first quarter alone. "When they do well, the city does well. When we help our small businesses, and they can ex- pand or hire new or additional employees, if their footprint can grow, where we can help increase their tax base. at's a big, big plus," Haire said. He is also excited to see the new Amazon distri- bution center scheduled to be built in his district. e 1.3 million-square-foot facility is getting built on 94 acres inside Fayetteville's Military Industri- al Park, near Interstate 295 near Fort Bragg. e center is projected to create up to 500 jobs by the time operation begins. Other projects Haire wants to work on for District 4 include adding bathrooms in parks, developing pieces of worn-down property, and continuing to push for improved stormwater drainage. One recent item that Haire suggested the council look into is a possible retirement plan for council members above 60 who have served at least ten years on council. Council members would not receive the money until the official leaves the City Council and each official would receive $500 per month. Haire tells Up & Coming Weekly that he just wants the city to look into the possibility after he spoke with county commissioners and realized that the state delegation has a form of retire- ment/deferment plan. Cumberland County commission- ers are eligible to invest in a 401k-like matching investment plan with the county matching up to 4.9% of a board member's salary for those who opt to participate in the deferred retire- ment plan. "It's just a matter of staff bringing that information. Nothing is a done deal. Anytime there's a council mem- ber request at a work session, it is only for information," Haire said. During the election of mayor pro- tem, it was Haire who nominated Johnny Dawkins and motioned for Dawkins to take on the position. Haire also voted against the "Vote Yes Fayetteville" referendum so it would not be on the November ballot. e referendum would require that four of the nine City Council members be elected by citywide voting rather than voting by district. e issue was that the Vote Yes group may not have followed the "notice of circulation" procedure to get signatures on its petition, according to Mayor Mitch Colvin. e State Board of Elections decided last week that it will be up to City Council to vote on if the petition is valid or not. [At press time, the matter had not yet been decided.] Haire wants people to know that neighborhood concerns are just as big as economic concerns. He says he wants to continue to work on commu- nity programs like crime prevention and safety groups. He is also open to looking at old ordinances and see what needs to be updated for this grow- ing city. "I try my best not to let my community down as far as being at meetings. Talking with them, standing up in front of them, taking their ques- tions. Whatever their concerns are, I'm going to continue to do the job, what I've been doing, and that's just working aggressively hard and build- ing trust and being loyal and being committed," Haire said. "at's what I've tried to do since 1997, is let my word be my bond. And because of that, we have built a lot of trust." City Council District 4: Haire speaks about his decades-long career in council, what's next by HANNAH LEE NEWS HANNAH LEE, Assistant Editor. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomin- gweekly.com. 910-484-6200. "When they do well, the city does well. When we help our small businesses, and they can expand or hire new or additional employees, if their footprint can grow ... that's a big, big plus." — D.J. Haire, City Council District 4

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