Midtown Raleigh News

News Briefs

Board member reappointed despite absences

A frequently absent member of Raleigh’s Civil Service Commission was reappointed for another term Tuesday.

Cheryl Grissom was up for renewal on the board, which hears appeals of employee grievances such as firings. The board recently came under fire from a union group that points out that at every meeting but one, at least one commission member was absent.

Since the commission’s rules require support from at least four of seven commissioners to overturn a personnel decision, the union says poor attendance puts workers at a disadvantage. The union wants the city to reinstate fired sanitation worker Shirley Venable, who got support from a majority of commissioners at her hearing but still fell two votes short.

Before reappointing Grissom, Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin asked about her attendance record. City clerks described it as “good”; Grissom has missed only one hearing in the past two years, they said.

But minutes from the commission’s meetings show that Grissom missed three out of seven meetings since April 2011. Since 2007, Grissom missed six of 17 sessions, according to the minutes. She and commissioner Wilbert “Tramp” Dunn have been the most frequently absent members of the board, minutes show.

Staff writer Colin Campbell

Poll shows support for Dix park

An opinion poll released Tuesday found that Wake County residents support plans for a park on the Dorothea Dix property by a 2-to-1 margin.

Public Policy Polling surveyed about 600 voters last week in the wake of Republican-sponsored legislation that would revoke Raleigh’s lease on the 325-acre state property. The bill passed the Senate last week and now heads to the House.

About 52 percent of those surveyed said they support the park, while 27 percent were against the idea.

Park supporters have argued that revoking the three-month-old lease signed by outgoing Gov. Bev Perdue and Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane will damage the state’s credibility in future contracts.

About 50 percent of poll respondents agreed that the bill to revoke the lease would “harm the state’s business reputation”; 38 percent say they don’t think so. The poll also found that the majority of Republicans surveyed didn’t support the legislation.

Two park booster groups, Dix 306 and Friends of Dorothea Dix Park, held a meeting Tuesday at the Dix property to discuss the poll. About 50 people turned out in support.

“It was impressive the awareness of people that we might make this property a park,” said Bill Padgett of Dix 306. “By 2-to-1, we ask the governor to veto that bill.”

Raleigh City Councilman Russ Stephenson also attended the meeting, and he told the crowd he’s hopeful that the House will debate the bill more thoroughly than the Senate. “I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll have more time in the House,” he said.

Staff writer Colin Campbell

City looks to fix service road

The Raleigh City Council gave the initial green light for the city to take over a potholed service road near the Raleigh-Garner line.

The road runs parallel to U.S. 70/South Wilmington Street between Tryon Road and Chapanoke Road. It serves several businesses including Captain Stanley’s Seafood, Triangle Adult Super Center and Triangle Rent A Car.

No one currently maintains the road, which city officials initially thought was under state control. Property owners will foot the majority of the $90,000 to fix the road, with Raleigh covering the remaining $23,700.

“This is another one of our orphan streets,” Public Works Director Carl Dawson said, adding that the city recently took over Olympia Drive on the opposite side of U.S. 70.

The council’s vote Tuesday allows for temporary repairs; they’ll take a final vote after a May 7 public hearing on the issue.

Staff writer Colin Campbell

Town to hold open house on land rules

Residents can weigh in on a proposed overhaul of the town’s land development rules at an open house Monday.

The proposed Unified Development Ordinance consolidates and refines the town’s existing regulations in areas such as zoning, subdivisions and storm water management

The town’s board of commissioners and planning commission held a joint public hearing on the ordinance Tuesday where few residents offered comments on the proposal. The public comment period will remain open for at least a month.

The public can view the UDO and an accompanying zoning map online at www.wakeforestnc.gov/udo_blog.aspx or in person at the planning department in Town Hall from 8 a.m. to 5p.m. weekdays. The open house will be held there from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Staff writer Sarah Barr