Thursday, June 5, 2008
Ordinance affects fireworks vendors
By SUE WATSON
A proposed fireworks ordinance was discussed at a public hearing during a recent board of supervisors’ meeting. Kevin Bailey, a vendor in the fireworks business for 25 years, was present and offered suggestions.
Some of the provisions of the ordinance, as adopted following the public hearing, included – limiting size and placement of advertising; requiring vendors to purchase $1 million in liability insurance; issue permits in commercial and industrial districts only; require setbacks from the highway, adjacent properties, and from existing structures or fuel stations; require off-street parking; restrict supervisory salespersons to age 21 or older and require helpers to be 16 or older; and charge vendors $300 per year for a permit to operate twice a year.
In zoning matters, supervisors heard from the Sidney McAlexander family who requested permission to place a single-wide mobile home for their daughter on their property, zoned for double-wide only except under hardship.
Mitch Tomlinson served as a spokesperson for an opposition group to permitting the hardship exception to their neighbor. They opposed the exception, saying they did not feel the hardship exception has been met.
The McAlexanders explained they had purchased the used single-wide for remodeling in February, paid a fee to zoning and applied for a permit to locate the unit on family property. Two supervisors advised the family they would approve the hardship exception before zoning ruled on it.
Zoning provided a step sheet and approved the piers that were poured. The trailer was moved in and the health department came out and approved the septic tank and it was also put in.
The McAlexanders explained several medical problems their daughter had experienced as a basis for the hardship request.
Donna McAlexander apologized to supervisor Willie Flemon, who knew nothing regarding the opposition the McAlexanders were facing from their neighbors until the neighbors came before the board, demanding supervisors uphold the zoning district and order the mobile home removed.
Supervisor Ronnie Joe Bennett explained to the McAlexanders how the mix-up got started with the wrong supervisor being approached to support the hardship exception.
Not knowing the McAlexanders’ property was on the opposite side of the road from his district, supervisor Eddie Dixon had given verbal approval for the move of the single-wide to the property.
“It’s caused a lot of heartaches,” said Bennett. “I wish we could have nipped it in the bud.”
“The people in the area have known me all my life,” Flemon added. “When I was confronted, I didn’t know about it and it made me look silly. We do have to abide by the law.”
Supervisor Keith Taylor said he had spoken with zoning director Conway Moore on behalf of the McAlexanders early on and when the property was thought to be in Dixon’s district, he had no other input in the matter.
“We go by the law, and I do not think anyone on this board has deliberately done anything outside the line,” Taylor said. “It should have started with Mr. Willie.”
“We are all human and will make mistakes,” Bennett said, apologetically to the McAlexanders.
Before adjourning, Flemon motioned to overturn zoning’s approval for the single-wide.
In other business, the board:
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