BY STACIE LETT CAIN
Former mayor David Pressly didn’t receive preferential treatment during Monday’s Statesville City Council meeting.
During the public comment period, Pressly took his turn at the podium to call out the council for what he described as secretive behavior by city officials. The property developer has criticized the council and mayor in recent months for their handling of the city’s proposed land-use plan and what he believes is favorable treatment for quarry operator Martin Marietta.
On Monday, Pressly said cited proposed changes to the city’s noise ordinance as the latest evidence.
“This is another ordinance targeted for Martin Marietta,” Pressley said. “We ought to be lowering the noise ordinance, not raising it. We need to talk about this publicly. We are through with secrets in our City Hall.”
Pressly used his allotted time — three minutes — to call out Mayor Costi Kutteh and council members for failing to represent the citizens of Statesville.
When his time was up, Pressly was advised that he needed to end his remarks.
But he refused, saying that he would not leave the podium.
“I’m not going to leave this microphone because we have a lot to talk about,” Pressly said. “I have a lot to say.”
Councilman William Morgan thanked Pressly for his remarks and reminded him that the council members has agreed to abide by a Code of Ethics. Part of that code requires that despite differing opinions, the council remain respectful to one another and the public.
“I would respectfully ask that you treat this body as we have all pledged to treat you,” Morgan said.
City Manager Ron Smith also advised Pressly that his time had expired and he needed to take a seat. Finally, Police Chief David Addison approached Pressly and led him away from the podium.
When the noise ordinance was finally discussed during the regular meeting, Councilman Steve Johnson asked Addison specifically how he had come to draft the ordinance he presented to the council. The proposed ordinance set specific decibel levels that were acceptable for both daytime and nighttime hours that would be enforceable, as opposed to the ordinance currently on the books.
“Wasn’t the impetus for drafting this ordinance the number of noise complaints received, rather than trying to accommodate any particular person or business and find a solution to this issue that was fair to everyone and enforceable by your department?” Johnson asked.
Addison answered that it was.
“When we have issues, we try to resolve them in a neutral non-biased way,” the chief explained. “We are trying to find a solution that is good for the City of Statesville, as a whole, not just a portion of it.”
The first reading of the proposed ordinance was approved by the council with two members voting against it.
Councilman David Jones voted against the ordinance, explaining that there should be exceptions for existing businesses.
“If we could add some language about grandfathering in businesses that are already in business then I would be in agreement,” Jones explained. “But I don’t see how we can go to a business that has been here for years and tell them that all of a sudden their work isn’t in compliance with our ordinance.”
In other business:
♦ The council held a public hearing on the proposed redistricting of the city’s ward boundaries in accordance with the 2020 census. The maps, all on display on the City’s website, show new boundaries that balance the population of the city’s wards.
♦ The council also approved the installation of speed humps in the Bost Street to address a high volume of traffic in that area brought to the council’s attention from area residents.
Chief Addison and Public Works Director J. Mark Taylor began by recommending three-way stops be placed along the route to control the volume of traffic, but instead the council decided to implement the speed humps as a way to control or slow traffic without the need for police enforcement.
Taylor did explain that citizens of the affected area had contacted the city requesting a solution to the increased volume which triggered the city’s policy for a traffic study, which the city completed. After consulting with police, fire and rescue, the stop signs were recommended.
But the council, concerned about the ability to enforce those stop signs, decided that speed humps would be a better solution.
Councilwoman Amy Lawton said enforcement was a major factor in her decision.
“Speed humps would be a deterrent to people driving over the speed limit which they most certainly do in this area,” Lawton said.
First reading of the resolution was passed unanimously.