PEMBROKE — Some residents who have been unable to clear their yards of tree debris left over from Hurricane Matthew will get help from the town.
The Pembroke Town Council on Monday unanimously approved $10,000 to help pay for removal of stumps and in some cases entire trees that fell during the October storm.
Town Manager Tyler W. Thomas said there have been requests from several residents who cannot physically do the work to remove the trees and do not have the money to pay to have it done.
“I think it’s time to do what we can do and move on,” Councilwoman Theresa Locklear said.
Councilman Larry McNeill agreed, saying the hurricane and flooding were “beyond anybody’s control.”
Some of the work exceeds the capability of the equipment the city owns, Thomas said, so contractors will be hired.
“We have an inventory of folks that have debris still remaining on their property. We haven’t developed any way we’re going to prioritize that,” Thomas said. “We are going to get as much of it up with our own staff so we can then use the remaining money to get what we couldn’t get with our own resources.”
The city will have to get permission and a liability waiver from each property owner before doing any work.
In other business, town officials are considering changes to some of the rules that regulate how certain sales activities are conducted.
One change under consideration is how “assembly halls” are operated. Such buildings are designated for use as a meeting place for civic or religious gatherings, educational, or entertainment purposes. The council wants to ensure these buildings don’t operate as restaurants or nightclubs, even though food and drinks can be served. The council tabled action on the matter until the Planning Board makes its recommendation.
“It’s to clarify the permitted use. Previously some restaurants were arguably not operating the way that restaurants are defined in our ordinances,” Thomas said. “This will allow them to operate how they want to operate but not in a restaurant setting, it would be more like a special event, an assembly hall use.”
The council set a public hearing to discuss a policy change that would require vendors who are not selling agricultural products to obtain a $25 license to sell their goods. It would also restrict mobile or itinerant vendors from selling their goods in the Highway Business and Industrial districts. The Planning Board said in its recommendation that such vendors have an unfair advantage over retail shops that have to pay for a business license while enjoying very little of the overhead costs incurred by a permanent business.
Thomas said the changes will not affect agricultural vendors and there can be exceptions, such as the annual Lumbee Homecoming celebration that draws numerous vendors.
The public hearing was set for April 3 during the council’s regular meeting.
Thomas said the town was approved by Duke Energy for an electrical vehicle charging station that will be located at Main and Third streets. The charging station will be for use by any electrically powered auto.
Reach Terri Ferguson Smith at 910-416-5865.