LUMBERTON — The Lumberton City Council on Wednesday accepted an application for a conditional-use permit for seven homeless veterans and their caretaker, all of whom have been told they must leave their rental home on Glenn Street.
K&L Veterans’ Homes and Services was served with an eviction notice from GMAC bank on June 12 and given 90 days to leave the rental home at 903 Glenn St., according to documents submitted to the council by the city’s Neighborhood Planning and Services Board. In September, Karla Carter, founder of the veterans’ home, submitted a letter to GMAC asking for a 60-day extension; she has since found a home at 411 Carthage Road to which to relocate.
In her letter to the bank, Carter wrote that she had been paying rent to Johnnie Renee Sweeney, owner of the home, from October 2009 to August 2012, and was not notified by Sweeney that the property was under foreclosure. Carter said she didn’t find out until she was served with the eviction notice.
“Unbeknownst to Ms. Carter, they foreclosed on this lady’s house, and the lady did not tell the veterans home that they had foreclosed, until they got a knock on the door and were told to get out,” Councilman Erich Hackney said during the council’s monthly policy meeting.
Only veterans who have been honorably discharged and not convicted of a felony are allowed to live in the home, and people who live within 150 feet of the home must be notified of plans to locate there. Hackney asked that the notification radius be doubled because the veterans home is being moved to a high-population area.
“These people paid rent faithfully for almost two years to their landlord, and their landlord pocketed the money and did not pay the mortgage company, and now, homeless veterans, a few days after Veterans Day, have to be on the streets,” Councilman John Cantey said.
On Wednesday, veterans were still at the home. Carter could not be reached for comment.
A public hearing on the conditional-use permit will be scheduled during Monday’s City Council meeting.
The council on Monday also authorized the city to apply to the North Carolina Rural Center for a $150,000 building reuse grant to assist with the renovation of a building in Lumberton for an unknown industry as part of “Project Flow.” The project includes an investment of $1 million in building and machinery, and is expected to create 40 jobs with an average wage of $15 an hour plus benefits.
In other action on Monday, the council:
— Heard from Blake Tyner, county historian, and city resident Helen Sharpe, who spoke on behalf of the Robeson County History Museum. Tyner and Sharpe, who owns the building that houses the museum, said the museum is in a “financial crisis.”
— Heard from Brandon Love, director of Planning and Neighborhood Services, who said bids results for the Tanglewood Sanitary Sewer rehabilitation project will be presented to the council during the Monday meeting.
— Heard from Councilman John Robinson, who asked that other council members support him as a participant in the “Dancing with The Robeson County Stars” program, sponsored by the United Way and held to benefit the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.
— Presented Alisha Thompson, the city’s finance director, a certificate for excellence in financial reporting.
— Accepted a grant of about $4,000 from the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services for the Pine Street Senior Center.
— Approved a change order from Chancel Builders in the amount of $6,357 for modifications in the construction of the new Lumberton Police Department at 1305 Godwin Ave.
— Approved contracts with Espy Services and Davenport Lawrence, advisory firms that look for ways that the city can save money.
— Approved about $3,600 in tax releases for the month of November.
— Approved a solid waste franchise agreement with Robeson County for removal of waste at Robeson Community College.
— Approved the purchase of four acres of land at about $23,000 beside the Lumberton Municipal Airport as part of the Acquisition & Obstruction Removal Runway 5 approach grant, which will pay for 90 percent of the purchase price.
— Adopted a resolution declaring city property as surplus to be sold at an auction by Lloyd Meekins Realty and Auction Company on Dec. 27.
— Adopted a resolution naming City Manager Wayne Horne as the agent for Mosquito Control.
— Referred a request for re-zoning and conditional-use permit for 511 E. Second St. to the Planning Board, and authorized Love to set a date for a public hearing. Melody Campbell, who operates Carolinas Home Care Agency Inc. at the property, wants to add a mental health day treatment for adolescents to the facility.
— Set the speed limit for Sessoms Street, near East Fifth Street, to 25 mph and approved posting of “We Love our Children” signs. The street had no posted speed limit.
— Designated $1,000 of community revitalization funds to Colors of Life Foundation for a dinner at Bill Sapp Recreation Center on Dec. 15 as follows: Precincts 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8, $100 each; Precinct 2 and the mayor’s discretionary fund, $200 each.
— Designated $2,200 for Toys for Tots as follows: Precincts 1, 3, 6, 7, and 8, $200 each; Precincts 2, 4, 5, and the mayor’s discretionary fund, $300 each
— Designated $500 of community revitalization funds from Precinct 3 for a handicap ramp at 1015 E. Ninth St.
— Designated $250 of community revitalization funds from Precinct 6 for housing repairs at 171 Windsor St.
— Designated $200 of community revitalization funds from Precinct 7 to M25 Hard Core Bikers, Christian motorcycle group.
— Designated $500 of community revitalization funds from Precinct 7 for West Lumberton High School for the Positive Behavioral Intervention Support Program.
— Approved $5,000 for the Lumberton Area Chamber of Commerce for the Lumberton Christmas Parade. The parade begins Saturday at 10 a.m.