Friday, January 28, 2022

Meeting Recap: Light agenda for New Hanover County Commissioners

(Port City Daily/Courtesy New Hanover County)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners met Monday afternoon in the historic courthouse with a light agenda in a meeting that lasted just over an hour and a half. 

One lead designer for Project Grace updated the board with depictions of the library-museum building that will be built downtown next summer if the plan moves forward. 

READ MORE: Design team presents first look at Project Grace façade and proposed building

Commissioners approved a rezoning request for 20 duplexes on a lot off S. College Road. The proposal from the developer — who was backed by attorney Amy Schaefer of State Senator Michael Lee’s law firm — previously would have led to 40 single-family homes on the skinny, 5-acre lot, but planning board members encouraged the developer to rework the plan in a hearing earlier this summer.

READ MORE: Single-family development will return as duplexes after candid planning board hearing

Chairwoman Julia Olson-Boseman seemed eager to move the meeting along as fast as possible. When Commissioner Rob Zapple probed officials on plans for spending education lottery money during the consent agenda — the part of the meeting where bulk items are approved typically without any discussion — Olson-Boseman eventually cut him off. 

“You guys this is consent agenda, 20 minutes is excessive,” Olson-Boseman interjected, during Zapple’s back-and-forth with the county’s chief finance officer. 

“So if you have this many questions on things, they probably need to go before the meeting and not on the consent agenda, or have the manager move them off to individual items,” she said. 

(The agenda review — an opportunity for deeper discussion on government action items usually held a few days prior to the official commissioners meeting — was canceled. The review would have been a chance for further talks on the education lottery funding, had it taken place.) 

“Now,” Olson-Boseman said after moving past the consent items. “What we’re all here for, finally.” 

The board then held a ceremony to name Tamera Young the first recipient of the “New Hanover County Commission for Women Inspiration Award.” Young, a Laney High School graduate, recently retired from the Las Vegas Aces after 12 seasons in the Women’s National Basketball Association. She’s the second person from the county to be drafted into the league.

Check back later for more coverage of the Monday meeting, including a vague funding application to use education lottery money for security upgrades at county schools, and an update from the head of the billion-dollar hospital endowment group.

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