Two items — rezoning and the Confederate monument — took up the great majority of a 90-minute meeting of the Tarboro Town Council on Monday.

The first item started as a call to initiate a zoning map amendment for the property immediately behind Belvedere Subdivision. Specifically, the property was requested to be rezoned from GR-5 to GR-3 by Ward 1 Councilman Othar Woodard.

The request came following the first update to the town-wide zoning map in 30 years, according to Town Manager Troy Lewis.

Belvedere is located along North Main Street and backed by N.C. 33. Its main streets are Brandon and Beechwood.

Town Planning Director Catherine Grimm explained to the council that the GR designation stands for “general residential” and the difference in the two classifications as GR-5 being single-family and encompassing townhouses and condos but not apartments or duplexes while GR-3 allows for a single-family residence but prohibits apartments and multi-family.

Ward 6 Councilwoman Deborah Jordan asked how the rezoning would affect other wards in town and was told by Lewis that it would not.

“It’s just that property (behind Belvedere) ... undeveloped land,” he said.

Jordan responded with, “We (town) need some housing. The town needs to do something. It really bothers me and there really is a need for housing.”

Jordan estimated the town “is probably 200 (residences) short.”

Ward 8 Councilman Tate Mayo asked about the Forest Acres Subdivision, noting that there were few available lots and that several property owners — several who were present — had asked him about rezoning to GR-3 from GR-5.

Sam Noble, who lives in Forest Acres, asked to speak about the issue and explained that every lot in the subdivision is a single-family.

“There are a few open lots, but they’re huge,” he said.

Mayo then made the motion to rezone Forest Acres from GR-5 to GR-3.

Both rezonings were approved unanimously, which means both will go before the Planning Board for action. If approved, they will come before the council for a public hearing and vote.

The discussion of the Confederate monument look longer and was less productive, as there were two deadlocked votes in the absence of Mayor Joe Pitt, who would normally serve as a tiebreaker.

Brown made a motion to seek and accept proposals for relocation of the Confederate monument with a deadline of Nov. 2 to allow for placement on the Nov. 9 agenda for action.

Ward 2 Councilman Leo Lewis was immediately critical of the November timeline and proffered a proposal with five restrictions for those seeking to gain the monument.

Among them:

  • The monument must remain in Edgecombe County.
  • Must go on private property, but be accessible to the public.
  • Must go to an organization and not an individual.
  • No cost to the town.
  • A one-year period to receive proposals.

After back-and-forth discussion, the council deadlocked 4-4 on the vote, which resulted in the motion’s failure.

Brown then introduced another motion that would allow 90 days for nonprofit organizations to submit proposals to house the monument.

The only restrictions included were no cost to the town and be located on private property accessible to the public.

The vote on that motion was three in favor and four against but Woodard, in his capacity of mayor pro tem, did not vote before declaring the vote.

According to parliamentary procedure, a vote not cast is to be counted as a vote in the affirmative, which made the vote 4-4 and caused the motion to fail.

Lewis told the council that there had been four proposals received, including one from Martin County.

In the end, Woodard proposed reviewing the process in 90 days.

“Let’s do that and see what proposals we’ve gotten,” he suggested, to the agreement of the other council members.

The next council meeting is on Nov. 9.