HENDERSON — The City Council met Monday, Jan. 9 and passed a city code amendment related to barbecue grills.
Acting Fire Chief Curtis Tyndall submitted the ordinance. The Henderson Fire Department is undergoing the accreditation process, and passing the amendment will help it receive a higher rating.
The following was added to Chapter 11 of the City Code:
Section 11-8 Barbecue Grills and Outdoor Cooking
Open-flame cooking devices:
- Charcoal burners and other open-flame cooking devices shall not be operated on combustible balconies or within 15 feet of combustible construction.
Exceptions to this are:
- One and two-family dwellings.
- Where buildings, balconies and decks are protected by an automatic sprinkler system and in accordance with Chapter 61 of the North Carolina State Building Code-Fire Code.
- LP-gas cooking devices having a [sic] LP-gas container with a water capacity not greater than 2.5 pounds (nominal 1 pound LP-gas capacity).
The State Fire Code already contains this ordinance. Adding the amendment to the city’s ordinance will allow the city governance over it.
Tyndall explained that the ordinance will affect one in two households in the city, mostly apartment complexes and commercial properties. The fire department will enforce it.
Next was an ordinance regarding pyrotechnics and fireworks. It was also submitted in order to help the Fire Department achieve a higher accreditation rating. The following was added to Chapter 11:
Section 11-9 —
Fireworks and Pyrotechnics
It shall be unlawfu
- l for any person to be in possession of, store or cause to ignite any pyrotechnic or fireworks that is prohibited by state law.
- The use of pyrotechnics or fireworks that explode or launch into the air are prohibited except for individuals that have state certification for this purpose and are possession of a valid permit from the City Council and/or any other governing body as required by NC
- The City Fire Chief shall review the operator’s event plan prior to allowing a permitted pyrotechnic event to occur.
Both ordinances passed 6-0. Council members Garry Daeke and Melissa Elliott were absent.
The next order of business was requesting approval from the council to submit an application for the N.C. Governor’s Crime Commission Grant. Should the grant go through, the city will buy five in-car video system units for $29,500. That money will be reimbursed after the sale. It passed 6-0.
The cameras would serve the Henderson Police Department’s goal of using “sworn officers and technology to address crime and disorder within the city more effectively and safely,” per the resolution text.
In another step forward in closing a $15 million funding gap in Kerr Lake Regional Water System expansion project, the council approved supporting an application to the N.C. Local Government Commission for its approval of city revenue bonds. Bob Jessup, a bond attorney from Sanford Holshouser contracted for bond counsel, appeared and offered an explanation of the revenue bond process.
Revenue bonds are secured by the pledge of net operating revenue of the system — there is no tax or physical collateral pledge. The revenue bond was upped from $15 million to $15.3 million to cover administrative costs. The application must be submitted to the LGC, as it approves all borrowing and authorizes staff to continue the process.
He predicted there would be no issues in the process. Now that the city approved the application, he’ll be back before the council in February for approval of the final loan documents. He anticipates the money will be available by March of this year.
Advocates for the homeless spoke to the council, including Pastor Janice Hargrove, director of LifeLine, a local homeless shelter for women and children. She thanked the community for pulling together to shelter homeless people during the recent cold snap, adding that a higher population of homeless people contributes to increased crime, substance abuse and self-medication.
Young boys are separated from their families — LifeLine won’t take boys above 12 and the men’s shelter won’t accept men younger than 18. Those boys may be “teaming up” with drug dealers to survive, Hargrove explained. Many people live in unsafe homes but don’t call code enforcement for fear of eviction.
Hargrove requested housing vouchers or emergency housing. Mayor Eddie Ellington expressed interest in another meeting with homeless advocates down the road, but noted that as a policymaking board, there is a limit on what the council can do.
Whitney Gulley and her daughter Shaileah Gully spoke as well. The latter said that living while homeless is difficult and hurts her self-esteem. Whitney Gulley said that she had found out that a proposal can be made to stay in city-owned property, but found difficulty during the process. City Manager Terrell Blackmon pointed out that the city doesn’t currently own any homes, only vacant lots. If the city were to obtain any, they could be made available for the city’s homesteading program.
Cheryl Pauley spoke as well, saying that people become hopeless through a variety of factors, not only bad choices. She requested the city look into a building meant to help people recover from substance abuse disorder.
Ellington said there are over 380 churches and 75 nonprofits in Vance County and that there seems to be a disconnect somewhere. Council member Sara Coffey said it made her angry to see nonprofit funds being misused.
Nichole West, who is staying at LifeLine, requested further action from the city to help its population of homeless people and noted that in doing so they might lower the crime rate.
The racetrack ordinance passed last year has led to more public comment.
Sheila Newman, a Henderson resident, asked the council to consider the disruption a racetrack could cause in her neighborhood.
Newman read a letter on behalf of her husband, Russell Newman. Around 30 to 40 years ago, he had a racetrack across the street from his home in the Gillburg community. The noise was unbearable and made watching television nearly impossible. He asked the council to pass ordinances that would benefit the whole community, not for a small group of people.
Greg Etheridge, president of Gupton Services, requested that the agenda be posted on the city’s website in a timely manner and for council members to use microphones so that the crowd can hear them better.
He also said the council should justify their votes on agenda items by referencing the city’s Comprehensive Plan.
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