City tweaks rules on restaurant hours

By: By Bob Shiles -

LUMBERTON — An ordinance amendment regulating the hours during which local restaurants can do business was OK’d Wednesday by the City Council.

Restaurants operating between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. now must obtain a conditional-use permit. If alcohol is sold the establishment must have a valid ABC permit.

The ordinance also strictly regulates noise generated at the restaurant. It requires a permit for any live amplified entertainment. The city, as part of the permitting process, may require a restaurant wanting to remain open all night to install video surveillance equipment capable of capturing and recording faces of patrons in and around the building, install enhanced exterior lighting to provide a safe environment in parking lots and other areas immediately surrounding the building, and add security personnel with documentation of experience based on the size and scope of a restaurant’s use.

Council members voted in June to repeal two ordinances because they overlapped state ABC laws. The local laws restricted restaurants from serving alcohol after 11 p.m., while state law allows for alcohol to be served until 2 a.m. As a result, conditional-use permits setting closing times for Lumberton bars and restaurants were deemed void.

In other business, council members agreed to an ordinance amendment that will help provide for the long-term presence of organizations in Lumberton that are helping residents with cleanup and rebuilding from Hurricane Matthew devastation. The ordinance will allow for the creation in Lumberton of a facility that will provide space for storage, offices, and even housing volunteers during short-term stays in the community.

The ordinance also creates a new standalone land-use category that accommodates multiple-use facilities. These temporary emergency aid facilities, however, are only permitted in a limited number of zoning districts.

In other business on Wednesday, the council:

— Approved a resolution closing an alleyway running through the property occupied by Black’s Tire on the south side of West Fifth Street. In return for closing the alley, the city is receiving sewer easements on the property owned by Freeman Investments. The alley is “on paper only” and has never been dedicated to the public or the city, and as far as city staff can tell has never been used, said Holt Moore, city attorney.

— Accepted a bid from K&S Builders for $124,121 to complete repairs at the South Resource Center, which was damaged by Hurricane Matthew.

— Accepted the single bid of $87,982 to complete repairs at Parkview Activity Center, which was damaged by Hurricane Matthew.

— Accepted the single bid of $61,238 from Columbus Utilities for the West Fifth Street Emergency Repair project near Black’s Tire.

— Approved the Tanglewood Drainage Project Engineering Service Agreement with the Wooten Company. The cost is $369,850 and is being paid for through a grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation. Lumberton has been awarded a $3 million grant from Golden LEAF in order to improve drainage in the Tanglewood area.

— Passed a resolution declaring the property at 501 E. 21st St. as surplus and allowing the property to be sold and advertising for sealed bids. The goal is to sell the property as quickly as possible in order to recoup the foreclosure expenses incurred by the city and get the property back on the tax rolls.

— Approved several requests from individual council members and the city manager for Community Revitalization Funds. These requests included City Manager Wayne Horne, individual council member’s choice of donating to the B.B. Thompson Choir Inc.; Councilman Burnis Wilkins, $500 for Community Watch in Precinct 3; Councilman John Cantey, $300 for a handicap ramp at 300 Pearl St. in Precinct 5, and $500 for Community Watch in Precinct 5; Councilman Chris Howard, Precinct 6, $800 for the Girls Training Camp; Councilwoman Karen Higley, $1,000 for Community Fun Day in Precinct 4; and Erich Hackney, request for donations of individual council member’s choice for the Lumberton Youth Baseball Association.

Brings into compliance with state’s ABC laws

By Bob Shiles

Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.

Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.