A school teacher has been chosen to join the Rockingham City Council.
At its regular monthly meeting Tuesday, the council voted unanimously to appoint Denise Sullivan to the council seat left vacant last month when councilman Steve Morris was appointed mayor.
Sullivan is a teacher at Rockingham Middle School, and she has served for several years on the Rockingham Housing Authority Board, including a stint as chairwoman of that governing body.
After the vote to appoint Sullivan, City Clerk Gwendolyn Swinney administered the Oath of Office to Sullivan.
Mayor Morris said, “We’ll ask you to come join us,” and Sullivan took her seat at the council table.
“I am deeply honored,” Sullivan said. She said she will serve the city to the best of her ability, and that she is “grateful” for the opportunity to do so.
Morris got the top job after former mayor Gene McLaurin won a seat in the NC Senate. Morris will serve out the rest of McLaurin’s term as mayor, through the end of 2013, and Sullivan will serve out the remainder of Morris’ term, also through the end of December. If they want to stay on the City Council they will have to win election this fall.
Morris said a large number of people submitted resumes for the open council seat, and he was pleased that so many citizens were willing to “step up to the plate” and help govern the city.
Councilman Bennett Deane III welcomed Sullivan, and said he wanted to extend a thank you to all the folks who showed an interest in the council position. The interest shows “civic pride,” he said. Deane and Councilman Gene Willard pointed out that there are numerous boards and committees where people desiring the chance to serve the city could take part.
Councilman Travis Billingsley said, “There is no better time to serve the City of Rockingham.”
Mayor Pro Tem John Hutchinson said he was also encouraged by the interest shown to serve the city. Hutchinson also welcomed Sullivan, telling her, “I look forward to serving with you.”
Also on Tuesday night, the council held a pubic hearing on the request to rezone about 6 acres at 106 Old River Road from High Density Residential (R-7) to Highway Business (B-3). City staff said the applicant, VFW Post 4203, had plans to place sweepstakes gaming machines in the VFW Post building, and even in light of a recent court ruling declaring the machines illegal, the applicant still wants to proceed with the rezoning request.
City staff recommended granting the rezoning, and the city’s Planning Board last month unanimously recommended that the council rezone the property as requested.
The City Council unanimously approved the request.
In other matters on Tuesday, the City Council:
• Adopted the Pee Dee Lumber Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan.
• Held a public hearing on a Community Development Block Grant application for the East Rockingham Sewer Project. These funds will be used to provide public sewer to portions of Marigold, Flowers and Mills streets. About 35 homes in that neighborhood are expected to be connected through this latest project.
• Heard a presentation of Rockingham Fire Department’s 2012 Annual Report by Fire Chief Charles Gardner.
• Agreed to schedule a public hearing at its March 12 meeting on a request to rezone 1.43 acres located at 106 Yates Hill Road and 195 W. U.S. Highway 74 Business from Light Industrial (I-1) to Highway Business (B-3).
— Editor John Charles Robbins can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 13, or by email at email@example.com.