Board discusses sales tax Starbucks' traffic project honoring female veterans

The Aberdeen Town Council at its meeting on April 26 shared highlights on budget and finances, heard from a concerned citizen about the complicated traffic pattern at Starbucks, and a local Boy Scout presented his project idea honoring female veterans.

Finance Director Butch Watson said sales tax collection rates increased from March 2020 to March 2021. There was a 51% increase in The North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) net revenue tax collection rates, and sales tax collection rates increased 14%. There was a 1% increase in property tax collection rates and no increase in garbage fee collection rates.

Graph created by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Stephanie Sellers.

Also, Planning Director Justin Westbrook said House Bill 401 and Senate Bill 349 would take authority from towns to develop and grow as they see fit. The legislation means duplexes, triplexes and quadplexes could be built in established neighborhoods in single-family zoned areas. It means a vacant lot could have a duplex built on it in the middle of an existing single-family zoned area.

Mayor Robbie Farrell said everyone should call the governor and protest if the legislation gets past the House of Representatives. He said it would take zoning away from towns. “I’m floored at this,” Farrell said. “They are cloaking it in affordable housing. It is an assault on zoning in North Carolina.”

In other matters at the meeting, a traffic reconfiguration plan was presented by Westbrook, and the town will analyze recommendations and gather input from the public to seek the best plan for downtown traffic.

Westbrook guided a decision to delay voting on closing an alley South of Rush Street, which is pending a survey, until May 10.

The town approved of an increase in needed repairs to the Malcolm Blue Farm’s Grist Mill at $19,350 from $17,850 due to lumber price increases.

Boy Scout James Williamson asked the town to display his flag project honoring female veterans at Aberdeen Lake Park. The project is part of his quest to earn his Eagle Scout badge. His project consists of a stone monument with a plaque, a message board, six flagpoles and commemorative bricks with supporters’ names lining the concrete walk. Farrell said there was concern about the maintenance of the flag display after Williamson has grown up and moved away. Farrell said campaign traffic is another concern for the suggested placement of the project since the recreation building is a polling station. The Technical Review Committee will work with Williamson on optional placement areas.

Screenshot of Boy Scout James Williamson asking the town to consider his project on April 26, 2021.

Planner Christian Hass presented a request for Roger Moore with Hotrods for Veterans to hold a car show in downtown Aberdeen with temporary road closures on Oct. 2, 2021 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. for Sycamore Street and Main Street. The town moved to host the car show and for planners to review the road closures and make recommendations.

During public comments, Steven Smith asked the town to lobby the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) for speed strips, flashing signs, or other measures to reduce speeding or for the town to reduce the speed limit on Poplar Street.

Anne Fields asked the town to address the traffic issues due to Starbucks’ traffic. She said it was dangerous to enter or exit the Best Buy or Shoe Carnival parking lots. Farrell said Starbucks was there first and there was no mention of a shopping center when the town approved of Starbucks. The town has conferred with NCDOT and has not had success in solving the issue but is working on the complicated traffic pattern.

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Stephanie Sellers.

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