Up & Coming Weekly

November 29, 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 8 of 24

8 UCW NOVEMBER 30 - DECEMBER 6, 2022 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM NEWS Board split on ordinances to remove home- less from county property by JASON BRADY, CityView Today e Cumberland County Board of Commissioners voted 5-2 last week in favor of two new ordinances designed to remove homeless indi- viduals from parking or camping on county-owned property. Because the vote did not pass unanimously, County Attorney Rick Moorefield said the proposed ordinances re- quire a second reading. e second reading, which could happen at the Dec. 5 meeting, also must pass on a majority vote. Commissioners Larry Lancaster, Jeannette Council, Glenn Adams, Michael Boose and Jimmy Keefe voted to amend the current county parking ordinance and enact a new ordinance to prohibit camping or establishing campsites on county property. Commissioners Toni Stew- art and Charles Evans voted against the change. e city of Fayetteville adopted an ordinance Aug. 8 making camping unlawful on city-owned property, which according to Moorefield, will likely shift homeless people previ- ously camping in the city parking lot across from the downtown library to the library property. During his presentation to county commissioners, Moorefield said that as the city continues to enforce its ordinance, it is likely more campsites will be shifted to county property. e library is already experiencing human waste being dumped in the dumpsters and people urinating and defecating in the storm drain grate and urinating on the public walk- ways on the property. e ordinance prohibiting camping and parking unlicensed vehicles on county prop- erty is intended to avoid the public nuisance created by people staying on the property overnight. Moorefield recommended the amendment to the ordinance regu- lating parking on county property, and the ordinance prohibiting camp- ing on county property be adopted. Under state law, the commissioners could create those ordinances with- out a public hearing, Moorefield said. Moorefield said both the parking amendment and the new camping ordinance are short and direct and will not result in penalties or criminal charges. Unlawful Parking e amendment to the ordinance would make it "unlawful to will- fully park any vehicle in any county- owned parking lot which does not display a current license plate." is ordinance applies to any county-owned property within Cumberland County, including all county-owned property in mu- nicipalities within the county. e county does not have the jurisdiction to apply those ordinances within mu- nicipalities unless it is county-owned property within the municipalities, Moorefield said. Camping e ordinance defines a camp or camping as sleeping, preparing to sleep (including lying down or the laying down of bedding for the purpose of sleeping); storing per- sonal belongings; the placement of tents, huts, or tarps; or parking a motor vehicle, motor home, trailer, or any other type of structure for living accommodation purposes. e proposed ordinance declares camping on county property a public nuisance. In a memo to commissioners, Moorefield stated that the use of county property for camping inter- feres with the rights of others to use the property for its intended use and the accumulation of trash, garbage, or waste, and the lack of sanitary disposal facilities at camping sites create conditions which constitute a public nuisance. To avoid a public health nuisance being created by the accumulation of trash, garbage, or waste, and the lack of sanitary disposal facilities, camp- ing or establishing a camp on county property is prohibited. According to the ordinance, anyone camping or establishing a camp on county prop- erty shall be deemed trespassing on county property. e Cumberland County Sheriff 's Office has the authority to enforce this ordinance by giving notice of trespass to anyone camping or estab- lishing a camp on county property. e sheriff also has the authority to direct violators to remove, within an appropriate amount of time, all of their personal property at the campsite. e sheriff also can ask the county manager to dispatch appropriate county staff to remove any personal property not removed from the site within the time directed. While that happens, the Sheriff 's Office shall keep a sworn law enforcement officer on site while county employees are there to remove personal property. Anyone notified that they are trespassing for camping or estab- lishing a camp on county property shall be subject to being charged with trespass if they come onto the same county property again. e ordinance would have been effective immediately upon its unanimous adoption by the Board of Commis- sioners. Commissioner Charles Evans sug- gested that one segment of the com- munity brought this proposed action forward against another segment of the community. "We are going out of our way to target homeless individuals," Com- missioner Evans said. Moorefield countered, saying it was brought forward by people sleeping at the library. Commissioner Toni Stewart also voted against the proposed ordi- nances. She kept asking, "What are the options? We don't have any op- tions, they (homeless) don't have any options." Commissioner Jimmy Keefe was of another opinion. He said his chil- dren, as well as other children he is aware of, no longer use the Maiden Lane library because of the vagrancy surrounding the library. Keefe said he empathized with the homeless situation, but asked fellow commis- sioners to think about the purpose of a library. "Maybe we should close the library and turn it into a homeless shelter," he said. Stewart countered, saying the county has an obligation to all children, including those who are homeless. Adams, the board chairman, noted that both sides of the argument made good points. He called the homeless situation a multi-faceted problem with no easy solutions. Other business In other business, the board unanimously voted to hire archi- tectural firm Ewing Cole for the proposed Crown Event Center. e firm is headquartered in San Diego with offices in Charlotte and Ra- leigh. County Manager Amy Cannon also asked the board for permission to start contract negotiations for a refined scope of services and final price, which will come before the board for approval. Sales tax distribution Adams previously asked Cannon to review for information purposes only the county's current tax distribution method with municipalities. Cannon said the board's Audit and Finance Committee met on Aug. 1 to review information on the sales tax distribution inter-local agreement that expires on June 30, 2023. At that meeting, the county man- ager shared the history of the agree- ment, sales tax distribution amounts per the agreement and the impact of a distribution change to ad valorem. Cannon told commissioners that the county received the final sales tax distribution in October for FY2022. e sales tax impact under both per capita and ad valorem have been updated to reflect the most current and updated data. She said commissioners will have to decide soon how they want to conduct sales tax distribution with municipalities. She noted that Cumberland County is only one of three large counties still distribut- ing sales tax on a per capita formula, which is based on past population. She told commissioners they need to consider options that will safeguard county tax revenues. Cannon sug- gested the commissioners consider using the ad valorem formula, which is based on property values. "Time is of the essence," Cannon said. "e board needs to continue this discussion so that there is some certainty as local governments pre- pare their budgets," she told commis- sioners. e board also honored Cannon, who is retiring in December, for her service to the county. Cannon started with the county as a budget analyst in 1990 and worked her way through the ranks to become the county's first female county manager. e board unanimously adopted a resolution, proclaiming Nov. 30 Amy H. Cannon Day in Cumberland County. Council, Evans and Keefe made the presentation because they were on the board when Cannon was hired as manager. JASON BRADY, CityView Today. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomingweekly. com. 910-484-6200.

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