Williamston approves lease agreement for Armory building

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By David Meade
Williamston Town Council approved a lease agreement for the Armory building, first reading on the 2018-19 budget, amended garbage regulations and established a new zoning district for light industry during their meeting Monday.
During public comments Betty Smith asked council to address an overgrown area off Greenville Drive which is attracting ground hogs. The ground hogs are causing problems on her adjacent property, she said.
A request was made for use of the Mineral Spring Park for a program to address bullying and suicide among kids. The request will be addressed when more details are available.
Williamston Police Chief Tony Taylor reported that officers are receiving training in dealing with mental health issues. He cited an example where Williamston officers responded to a call and instead of making an arrest, worked to get an evaluation and help for the individual.
Debbie Chapman reported that the community came together for the HOWDY day cleanup last week and gave a codes report (see separate story).
Council approved second reading on an ordinance allowing lease of the Armory building on Gossett Street. Under the lease, expected revenue for the town for the first three years is $82,500. ($2500 per month for 33 months). The agreement allows the lessee the first three months rent-free.
The town will make improvements to the facility including new heating and air in the main gymnasium room at a cost of $52,000.
Repairs will be made to the sidewalk and make the facility handicap accessible at a cost of $3,700; Some trees and stumps will be removed from the property at a cost of $8,560; the parking lot will be re-striped and re-sealed $2,150; A urinal will be removed from the women’s restroom and a vanity sink added $2,200; Keys will be provided for all doors $100; Electrical upgrade $7,000. Total estimated expenses for improvement amount to $76,710. The lease is for 120 months, until July 31, 2028.
Repairs are expected to be completed by July 31 when the lease will go into effect.
The lessee is required to carry insurance on the building and property, be responsible for any taxes or assessment, and maintain Workers’ Comp insurance.
In other business, Council approved a request by Natasha New for use of Mineral Spring Park for a Huntington’s Disease event on Sept. 22. Huntington’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that causes uncontrolled movements, emotional problems and loss of thinking ability.
Council unanimously approved first reading on an ordinance adopting the 2018-19 budget.
Revenues are up, primarily from a tax increase and an increase in the garbage fee last year. Overall revenues are expected to increase from $3,125,840 to $3,217,990. (See separate story)
Council approved first reading on an ordinance amending the garbage and trash regulations to allow for two or more containers.
Mayor Mack Durham said several residents require more than one container and the changes make it clear about the guidelines for a second or third container.
Durham said the changes clarify what is allowed for pickup by town employees.
The town will allow no more than one receptacle not approved by the town. Any additional containers must be obtained from the town.
Council approved first reading on an ordinance establishing zoning districts for light industry. The districts will be identified as I1 and I2. The change currently only affects town owned property.
Permitted uses include any industrial use involving manufacturing, processing, repair or assembly operations, storage and sale of heavy materials, products, or equipment. Not including junk or salvage yards or other uses which may cause noise, vibration, smoke, gas fumes, odor, dust, fire hazards dangerous radiation or other similar conditions.
The ordinance lists a variety of other permitted uses including research or experimental lab, horticultural nursery, office building, commercial parking lot, newspaper publishing plant, auto, farm equipment or boat sales, mini warehouses, electrician and other categories.
Conditional uses include a variety of items including warehouse or storage facility, wholesale business outlet, auto service station, truck terminal and other industrial uses. The ordinance includes other permitting requirements and restrictions.
Council approved a resolution recognizing April as Fair Housing Month. The designation is required as a condition for receiving certain grants, the mayor said.

(Additional budget details are in this week’s print edition of The Journal)