Ritter won't run for reelection

At Tuesday’s Moore County Board of Commissioners meeting, the board authorized an appeal to a recent court ruling favoring Pinebluff in a dispute concerning Pinebluff’s extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction (ETJ).

In early October, the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 that the Commissioners did not have the authority to block Pinebluff from extending its zoning authority 2 miles beyond the town limits. Under current state law, towns with a population over 10,000 can extend their zoning authority up to 2 miles outside their borders.

Towns like Pinebluff, with a population under 10,000, can automatically extend their authority up to 1 mile. The case centers around a 1999 law which Pinebluff believes grants it the authority for the 2 mile limit, regardless of whether the county is already zoned in the area.

The board voted 4-1 to pursue an appeal to the North Carolina Supreme Court.  Dissenting was District IV, Commissioner Frank Quis who stated, “In my municipal experience, a 3-0 Court of appeals ruling is a very difficult hurdle to overcome.”

Speaking in support of the appeal, Commissioner Louis Gregory stated, “This issue is in need of closure, and a review by the Supreme Court is the best way to achieve that.”

County Attorney Misty Leland will file a motion for a discretionary review with the North Carolina Supreme Court.  This issue dates back to 2014 when Pinebluff initially filed a motion to extend their ETJ.  It has since been an issue that is being closely followed by other communities in the county as it could affect their authority to extend their zoning authority. 

The board also received a report on Hurricane Florence and discussed it at the meeting. During the storm, 5,890 calls were processed by 911 resulting in 3,450 calls for service, 40-45 storm victims were rescued including  30-35 pets. Almost 26,000 residents lost power for multiple days with approximately 100 roads closures due to the effects of the storm. 

Local Damage Assessment Teams began September 17 through October 3 and assessed 762 properties showing 51 structures destroyed, 47 suffering damage ranging from minor to major and an additional 49 units affected. To date, FEMA has completed approximately 95 percent of their damage assessments. 

The Commissioners also approved, by a vote of 4-1, a proposal by County Health Director Robert Wittmann to use $156,000 to purchase Mosquito Dunks to combat the excessive amount of mosquitoes that are a result of the storm. The dunks need to be inserted into standing water, where they slowly release a specific bacterium, which mosquito larvae eat.

Picture courtesy of SummitChemicals.com.

This bacterium kills mosquito larvae of all known mosquito species but is safe for humans, animals, birds, frogs, fishes, birds, and other animals.  This was considered a safer alternative to spraying with the added benefit of being more effective in preventing mosquitoes from breeding.

Several commissioners questioned whether it was prudent to spend this money with cold weather approaching but where assured the product has a long shelf life and the accompanying education program would provide the best bang for the buck.

There was a legal issue with the bids received which will result in a 2-3 week delay in receiving the product. Once they arrive, the community will be notified and distribution centers will be established.  The funding is part of the special 4 million dollars in mosquito control funds authorized by Governor Cooper in the wake of Hurricane Florence. 

In other board business, the board approved a $2,400,000 request for the lease of modular classroom units for the temporary Pinehurst Elementary School campus. 

The next regular Board of Commissioners Meeting is scheduled for November 6 with a special meeting on October 31.


Photo of County Commissioners courtesy of Moore County.

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