The Richmond County Board of Commissioners has decided to give an extension to property owners who have had their dilapidated dwelling on the planning board’s radar for more than a year.
The extension was granted on a split vote of the county board at its Monday night meeting.
According to Planning and Zoning Director of GIS James Armstrong, Charles and Brenda Perry have a house at 20 1st St., Safie in East Rockingham, which planning staff have asked they tear down. The Perry family asked for several extensions, but after granting those planning staff reported no activity over the course of a year.
“Subsequent to the Administrative Hearing and Administrative Order to demolish and remove the structure, the owners (through David Auman, brother of Brenda) asked and received an extension until the fall of 2011 to remove the structure,” wrote the planning staff in a report to the board. “This extension was granted due to family illness and their wish to remove the tin roof from the structure. Through the fall and winter of 2011, no activity at the property or structure was noted.”
Included in the commissioners’ agenda packet was a letter from David Auman sent to Commissioner Don Bryant on June 30, requesting an extension through the end of April 2013 to complete the demolition and removal of the structure. In the letter, Auman said he would like to explain why he and Charles Perry have yet to remove the building.
“Chuck’s job takes him out of town so much that it is difficult for him to help with projects like this,” wrote Auman. “I did however decided that I would like to tear the house down and use/recycle some of the lumber for a small project here at home. I anticipated being able to begin this past winter; however I had a huge increase in work due to a few job related issues. My primary job is managing 850 acres of property and facilities for Girl Scouts - N.C. Coastal Pines. This is a full time position that I have been at for nearly 25 years. One of our other full time Camp Rangers resigned his position in March 2011; so I was given the duty of taking care of that property until another ranger was hired. This camp is in Brunswick County and about 150 miles from me; so it is necessary for me to frequently travel back and forth to take care of campers and property there.
“Just after our ranger in Brunswick County resigned, we lost another full time ranger at our camp in Vance County, both were unexpected losses,” continued Auman. “During this time our summer camp program was getting ready to begin; so I told my supervisor that I would take care of my camp and the one in Brunswick County and he could handle getting someone in position at our Vance County camp. A temporary ranger was hired for our property in Vance County. Then my supervisor had a heart attack last summer and was out of work for a few months.”
Auman’s letter goes on to say that his job has taken up his time and some of his projects “were delayed,” and that he understands the consequences of having “exceeded the deadline Mr. Armstrong was generous enough to give to begin with” and that “the County has the right to take action.”
Anticipating a replacement ranger to free up his time soon, Auman asked the board to consider allowing him until April 1, 2013 to tear down the house.
“We’ve done as much as we can do,” Armstrong told the county board at the Monday meeting. “It’s been over a year now.”
“I know him personally,” said Bryant. “His job takes him out of town. I think he should get an extension.”
“How long?” Board Chairman Kenneth Robinette asked Bryant, who responded, “Until January.”
Armstrong asked Bryant if, by the first of January there has been no demolition, the board would order one, and Bryant said “yes.”
In a rare moment for the commissioners, Robinette opposed the extension, along with Commissioners John Garner and Jimmy Maske. The motion carried four against three.
In other county matters:
• County Manager Rick Sago reported that FerroFab, Inc., the Canadian metalworking company that announced last week it would locate to Hamlet and create 54 jobs, is preparing to begin its hiring process.
• Commissioner Thad Ussery asked Sago about the blue and yellow clothing donation bins that have sprung up around the county and caused some controversy. According to many, the bins lead people to believe the donations will go to local charity, but instead the clothes are sold overseas. Sago said the bins are located on the property of business owners and therefore the county commissioners have no authority to ban them. Sago said the City of Laurinburg has banned the bins. Sago encouraged people to inform the business owners about the bins.
• The board approved the Richmond County Jail Medical Facility Plan. The board is asked to adopt the administrative plan each year, and this year there are no changes to the plan.
• Ginny Braddock was reappointed to the position of tax collector.
• Robert McInnis was appointed to the Lumber River Workforce Development Board.
• Caroline Thomas Goodwin was appointed to be the Extraterritorial Jurisdiction representative for the county on the Rockingham Board of Adjustments and Appeals.
• Sago was reappointed to County Manager for a new two-year term.
• Curtis Ingram was appointed to the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council.
— Staff writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.