Public weighs in on crime, housing concerns


Staff Writer

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

With only a handful of items on the agenda, public comments took center stage during Monday's meeting of the Rocky Mount City Council.

From crime to gentrification, members of the public made strong suggestions to the council.

Randy Adcox reminded the council of a woman who was murdered while Christmas shopping at the mall decades ago.

Adcox said she's an example that crime affects everyone, not just residents in crime-prone neighborhoods.

"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see we have a crime problem here in Rocky Mount," Adcox said.

The city should start a crime prevention task force with local law enforcement and the community, Adcox said.

Johnny Cunningham used the example of a fatal fire from 17 years ago to say Rocky Mount's children deserve better housing. He said the fire was the result of too many family members living in one residence due to being pushed out of other homes by gentrification. The topic also was discussed during the council's workshop earlier in the day.

Bronson Williams said two of the victims of that fire were his classmates. He said such situations are caused by slumlords in the community.

Williams said he is thankful for an elected body that cares about such issues. He also congratulated Councilwoman Chris Miller on her recent re-election.

During a public hearing for the Down East HOME Consortium Amended Citizen Participation Plan, a resident asked whether hearings could receive more prior advertising.

Councilman Reuben Blackwell said he'd like to see notices placed not only in the Telegram but in the Weekly Defender and other local publications as well.

After the hearing, the council approved the plan as recommended by city staff.

The council also made text changes to the city's Land Development Code to align it with state statutes as recommended by the Planning Board.