Robbins Explores Water Options
BY JOHN CHAPPELL
Robbins is moving ahead while county engineers study the town’s proposed water-sewer lease or purchase deal.
Town council members have been considering the possibility Robbins might solve its own water source problems with a series of wells feeding a small processing system that would be adequate for current and future local needs – though far smaller than the plant imagined for a combined town-county system serving all of northwest Moore and areas in the Seven Lakes region to the south.
Two U. S. Department of Agriculture representatives will visit Robbins Monday, Sept. 19. They will meet with Town Manager George Hayfield, Mayor Theron Bell and others at 1:30 p.m.
At the Sept. Board meeting, Commissioner Joey Boswell asked Hayfield about well system quotes. Hayfield said he is waiting to meet with the USDA on the available funds.
“Their fiscal year starts again in October,” Hayfield said. “Funds from this fiscal year would be impossible to obtain, since a preliminary engineering report would be needed first.”
That would still take 45 to 60 days, commissioner Rocky Davis said. He has looked at the cost of connecting Robbins with Carthage, whose plant has far greater capacity that is presently in use. Davis is also Public Works Director for Carthage.
“It is all premature until you sit down and talk with USDA,” Hayfield said.
That discussion is on the agenda for Monday’s meeting when USDA representatives will be able to discuss possible USDA financing for a well-sourced water supply for the town. Garland Burnett and Julia Johnson will visit Town Hall to talk about that as well as go over the financing plan for the fire station. A new USDA office has taken over the Robbins area, but the fire station deal is already in place. One holdup has been closing a dedicated, but never paved or used, road that goes through one edge of the property. The site is on the other side of the railroad from Town Hall.
If a quorum of commissioners is to be present, notice will be required for a special town board meeting.
“All you got to do is put a notice on the door 48 hours ahead of time,” Davis said. “That’s legal. That’s all you got to do.”
In other matters, the town planning board had unanimously recommended approval of two items on which the board held public hearings. Nobody signed up to speak to the board about either matter.
One was rezoning a .4 acre property at 231 N.C. 705 S. from residential (R) to thoroughfare business district (TBD). Businesses had operated there for years but improperly based on its residential zoning. The board approved the change.
Another was an amendment to the town’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) to permit, by right, upper floor multifamily residences in that same TBD. Hayfield showed the areas affected on a map of Robbins, and the board approved the change.
After considerable discussion, commissioners voted to accept an offer from Noah Key to donate a badly damaged commercial building in the heart of downtown. The building, formerly Ray’s Department Store, is in need of considerable repair. As it stands, Davis said, it represents a potential hazard.
Part of downtown revitalization working with N.C. Department of Commerce Small Town Main Street advisors is finding ways to rejuvenate just such buildings. Many other towns have seen successfully restored structures improve both the appearance and the economic life of their downtowns, according to presentations at Main Street meetings.
Hayfield has two non-binding estimates, ball park figures. He said contractors were quoting $35 to $40 thousand in rough estimates for repairs to the building, which is at 181 South Middleton Street where Salisbury Street crosses – the midtown traffic light.
“These are for taking out debris from the fallen roof, clear out the building, seal it up and make it weather-tight,” Hayfield said. “There is no easy way to do it. All I have now are quotes. Three different groups have gone through it and looked at it. The last 30 feet of the building has basically collapsed, but the building is structurally sound, they said. It is eminently fixable.”
A motion was needed for discussion of the proposal.
“I move we accept the donation,” Lynn Loy said.
After considerable energetic talk, with worry over liability risks and loss of tax revenue countered with risking injuries from a building collapse and missing an opportunity for a downtown centerpiece, the board passed Loy’s motion 3 to 2.
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