City gifts building to Humane Society

First Posted: 1/15/2009

LUMBERTON - The City Council voted Monday night to allow the Robeson County Humane Society the use of the Lewis Veterinary Clinic at no charge when the clinic's lease runs out next summer. The Humane Society has been without a building since its facility on Linkhaw Road closed in 2001.
The city bought the West Fifth Street property from veterinarian Kathryn Combs after she sued the city over damage to the property caused from a hurricane-induced sewage spill in 1999. The city and Combs entered into a lease agreement after settling the suit in 2003.
“We're very excited about it,” said Gail Gane, president of the Humane Society. “Now we've finally got a place to open and we're just extremely happy that the city's given their support.”
The group has been raising money for several years through golf tournaments and dances for land and construction costs and has more than $100,000 in the bank.
“It was going to take a whole lot of money to try and find land and also build something,” Gane said. “This seemed to be the perfect match for our needs. They didn't have a use for the building.”
The Humane Society plans to do extensive renovations to the facility's roof and air conditioning system. The cost of those renovations is uncertain.
“I'm happy for them,” Combs said. “We will be letting everybody know where the new location is in the near future.”
According to City Attorney Kevin Whiteheart, the property at 3180 W. Fifth St. will revert to the city if the group dissolves. Any improvements made to the property will belong to the city.
“It's a win-win situation for both of us,” Gane said. “We can make good use of that building; it's not going to be another empty building. It provides a very positive image for the city that we do care about animals. It's another opportunity for people other than taking them to the pound.”
The Humane Society will continue to hold fund-raisers. The society also is applying for grants for the shelter and the spay/neuter programs.

Sam's Club
The council also heard a report on site plan changes for the planned Sam's Club at 5061 Dawn Drive. Planning Director Brandon Love told the council that plans approved in October that originally included three small outparcels have been changed to make them one large outparcel. He said the change would have to be approved by council before the project could proceed.
The council referred the issue to the Planning Board for a recommendation.
Love said the project includes installing a traffic light at the intersection of Dawn Drive and Fayetteville Road and adding a turn lane into the property on Dawn Drive.
In other business, the council:
– Approved a request for a conditional-use permit that allows a major subdivision of property on Corporate Drive. Plans for the property include the extension of Farm Brook Drive and the creation of six commercial lots.
– Approved a request to rezone property on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, just south of Starlite Drive, from residential single-family to business general commercial.
– Approved policies for public comment at council meetings. To comply with a new state law, the council will set aside up to 30 minutes at the first regular meeting each month. People who wish to speak must sign in before the meeting begins and each will be limited to three minutes. The council can also designate a single spokesman from a group of people with a similar position on an issue. The council can stop a speaker whose comments are deemed to be inflammatory or indecent.
– Heard from Robeson Community College President Charles Chrestman, who thanked the council for its support in bringing the University of North Dakota's aviation program to Robeson County.

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