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Wilson council signs off on nuisance party permit rules

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Wilson officials have a new tool to combat parties and gatherings that get out of hand thanks to a new ordinance city council members passed Thursday.

“We have some nuisance places that will pop up in residential settings and those are problems. We’ll encounter parties happening at the same house week after week, so the neighbors are complaining because the situation deteriorates their quality of life,” Wilson police Capt. Eric Smith said. “I think the nuisance party ordinance will be a pretty good tool for us to curb some of those situations.”

Police and planning officials worked together in recent months to draft the ordinance that means if a site has a history of parties that violate noise ordinances and alcohol laws and is deemed a nuisance, the owner, occupant, renter or party host will have to obtain a permit from the city for any gatherings of 50 or more people. If a permit is not obtained, the ordinance details the civil and criminal penalties that could result.

The council approved the ordinance without discussion and no one from the public spoke on the subject.

STAFF RAISES, REZONING

Also at the 7 p.m. meeting, council heard from accountant Matt Braswell with Martin Starnes and Associates, which completed an audit of the city’s financial statements for last fiscal year. City Manager Grant Goings followed the presentation with a request for a 3 percent merit-based pay raise for city staff. Council members approved the pay hikes.

Other action taken at the meeting included rezoning 5917 Ward Blvd., and 721 Tarboro St. to general commercial as well as a proclamation declaring October as Fire Prevention Month.

CHERRY HOTEL PROJECT

The council also approved a grant application for an N.C. Department of Commerce Rural Economic Development Division building reuse grant for the shuttered Cherry Hotel at 333 Nash St. NE. The agenda notes the renovation of the hotel would spur job creation, general economic development and encourage further revitalization in historic downtown Wilson. The amount of the grant was not included, but the grant would require at least a 5 percent match from the city.

In 2017, the council approved moving ahead with a plan from California-based ABA Hospitality to turn the historic property into event and retail space as well as a boutique hotel. Other developers that were considered wanted to use the upper floors for apartments, but officials said only that the grant “was done in anticipation of a future project.”

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