LAURINBURG — The Laurinburg City Council voted on Tuesday to rezone a seven-acre parcel on Johns Road near McKenzie Crossroads from residential to general business to allow South Electrical, Inc. to relocate there.
That decision came after several minutes of debate with a resident of Lamar Avenue over the potential impact that opening the area to business might have on those living nearby. The rezoning request was endorsed by the city’s planning board last month.
South Electrical owner Richard Locklear, who is in the process of purchasing the property, said that his business is currently located at his home address in a residential area, and has reached its limits there.
“There will be very little impact on the area,” he said. “I would invite anyone to come and visit where I’m located now to see what kind of operation we’ve got. As far as heavy traffic, industrial-type traffic, trucks all day, that’s not going to be. It’s mostly UPS deliveries occasionally and a freight delivery occasionally, and our service trucks, which are small.”
The city will require a buffer between the business and adjacent residential properties. Locklear also said that most equipment will be kept inside the shop, which will be located at the front of the lot near U.S. 501.
Also on Tuesday, Lumber River Council of Governments business service coordinator Adrian Lowery updated the city on the activities of LRCG’s housing and workforce development programs.
In the final cycle of the Community Development Block Grant program, the Lumber River Council of Governments demolished and replace three homes within the city limits: on Cary Street, Omega Avenue and Morris Drive.
“These were homes that were in really bad shape; especially the home that was on Cary Street,” Lowery said. “We had been working with that particular gentleman for probably about five or six years. The home, really a human being should not be living in that home. We were able to go in and demolish it and put him in something brand-new.”
The agency’s workforce development program is working with local businesses to address deficiencies in employee’s skill sets, and with the Scotland County Schools to ensure that students graduate with the technological skills necessary to qualify for the work likely to be available in North Carolina in the future.
As the county works toward goals set through the ACT Work Ready Communities program, Lowery said that those markers indicate to prospective industry that the county has a qualified workforce in place.
“If we don’t get in the forefront of what’s coming, Scotland County, Laurinburg, is going to be left behind,” said Lowery. “You’re not going to be able to depend on the state, and you’re not going to be able to depend on the federal government. So if it doesn’t come from within here, you’re going to be left behind.”
In other business, the city council amended its 2016 meeting schedule to eliminate all agenda workshop meetings scheduled a week ahead of each regular meeting. The workshops were initially implemented so that council members could be well-informed prior to each month’s meeting.
“It started out a few years ago as just an agenda meeting whereby council was given the proposed agenda for the regular workshop and was discussing if they needed more information before they made a decision,” said council member Dee Hammond.
“That’s why, when you saw the regular meetings, it looked like at times that everything was just getting rubber stamped. … At the agenda meetings we were having discussions a lot more than we were at the regular meetings. Therefore, so citizens can be better informed, we’re going to eliminate those meetings.”
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.