Dear City of Rocky Mount,
I received a letter from you in the mail saying, “You are invited to attend an information meeting to be held on Thursday, October 17, 2013…The purpose of this meeting is to inform you and your neighbors of a proposed rezoning request…” Needless to say, the letter left me with several questions and I wanted to make sure that I became involved in a matter that would be affecting my neighborhood and my home.
I wanted to see if I could find more information online. After 15 minutes of looking around the website I could only find information about applying for zoning. There was no content about the supposed meeting or who applied for the information.
I strolled over to the empty property and noticed that the Mayor of Rocky Mount is the realtor trying to sell the property. I asked the city who was applying for the change in zoning; it turned out to be Joyner Keeny, PLLC. Joyner Keeny, PLLC was to rezone the property to be able to build a storage facility. Needless to say, more questions were being accumulated in my mind,
I had decided that I needed to go to ask more questions and gathered my next-door neighbors to come with me. After taking an hour of personal time off from my job in order to attend the meeting at 5:30 p.m., I was disappointed while walking up to the door of City Hall to find out the meeting had been canceled.
Meeting canceled? I am a working individual and had to burn an hour of PTO to make sure I could get to the meeting on time.
Looking at my letter again I noticed the postage was 46 cents. It was a nice heavy envelope, and had a label with my name printed on it. How much money did the city spend on the mailings? And you are you going do that again before the next meeting? How many people were getting these letters? This is my tax money being spent.
About 20 people stood outside City Hall. All were confused as to why the meeting was canceled and seemed not to like the idea of rezoning the neighborhood. There was someone representing the city who said that “it was canceled” and would not say why.
After more investigation I found out that the applicant (Joyner Keeny, PLLC) asked that the meeting be cancelled. The city was adamant in saying that staffers were there to meet those who showed up and let them know the meeting was cancelled. I was also told the meeting may not be rescheduled because Joyner Keeney, PLLC will probably withdraw the application.
My questions still remain and if this meeting was called a week before, one would think that Joyner Keeny would have been notified of the meeting the same time as the neighborhood and would be able to make accommodations. And are they withdrawing their application due to the fact that people are concerned?
This may seem like a small matter, but it sums up why people don’t trust local government. There is no consistency, communication, or transparency. I wonder if questions about what is going on will ever be answered. I am concerned that a storage facility would make my neighborhood less attractive. And is the mayor having undue influence? This is important to me and my neighbors – why weren’t we notified properly? Does this mean the city is trying to pull a fast one”?