Tempers flare at New Hanover Co. Commissioners meeting; Updated with video from meeting

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Submitted: Tue, 10/04/2011 - 3:59am
Updated: Thu, 08/02/2012 - 5:03pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County Commissioners voted to pass an amendment to the county’s industrial zoning district Monday night. The ordinance will make new companies file for a special use permit, including Titan if or when it comes to the region. The vote came after a heated exchange between one commissioner and the public.

Vice-Chair Jason Thompson asked the audience at the meeting how many of them were there simply to stop Titan rather than to see the zoning ordinance through. When only a few admitted to it he said he appreciated their honesty but then said he felt many others in the room were being dishonest. The audience then exploded.

Thompson’s framed picture in the lobby ended up in a bathroom stall after a handful of people were escorted out of the meeting.

“Each commissioner has the ability to state their opinions and their thoughts and I respect what each of my fellow commissioners have to say,” said Jonathan Barfield, New Hanover County Commission Chair. “I don’t always agree, as you can tell with meetings that we have, but I do respect all four commissioners that I serve with.”

Whether the large crowd showed up at the meeting to stop Titan or not the night did end with the passing of a zoning ordinance which requires industries to have a special use permit.

The motion carried 4 to 1. The only commissioner against it was Thompson.

“When a business wants to come here that will indeed be heavy industrial we will be able to pretty much analyze what they are going to be able to bring to our community, whether they are going to be having smokestacks, those kind of things and the effect,” said Barfield. “Then we can make a decision whether or not to allow them to come to New Hanover County.”

For Titan that means they will have to come to the county commission and ask for a special use permit if they decide to expand their operation.

The few people who were opposed to the amendment implied that it would be restrictive to industry and further limit jobs in the area.

“I don’t think its going hamper economic development at all. If anything I think it’s going to increase and enhance our opportunities to bring quality organizations to New Hanover County,” added Barfield.

CLICK HERE TO SEE VIDEO FROM THE MEETING (CHOOSE THE “ITEM 7 PART 2 OF 2″ AND “PUBLIC COMMENTS” LINKS) http://newhanovernc.swagit.com/player.php?refid=10032011-78

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25 Comments on "Tempers flare at New Hanover Co. Commissioners meeting; Updated with video from meeting"

2015 years 8 months ago

was one of the few people to stand up to Thompson and do so with ferocity. Thompson probably deserved that lashing for calling a room full of people liars but he’s probably not entirely incorrect. I sense that a lot of people believe these ordinance changes will stop Titan and that’s why the base of support for the ordinance changes was so vocal. It might stop the next Titan but unfortunately, if history is any indicator, all the angry crowds you can muster won’t usually get a no vote on most development projects. Unless a new type of candidate emerges in all future elections and wins, you’ll see future boards listen patiently and then vote yes on these future special use permits with a rubber stamp.

Thompson made an important point when he said that because these industrial projects will be special uses, you can no longer email, call, talk to in person, etc commissioners before the vote. You can only show up the night of the vote and rant to a future board that will pretend to listen before they vote yes. For this reason, the opponents of the revisions were grasping at straws in their attempts to paint these changes as job killers. If a good company wants to establish operations in New Hanover County, a fact based special use permit process won’t discourage them – especially given the commissioner’s history of voting yes. The board has to consider facts/data and not the emotions of an angry crowd and upset nearby land owners. It’s a very good thing that these industrial uses can no longer begin operations without a public hearing (to shine some light on the project if nothing else) but the idea that a public hearing will stop most of them is laughable. But that is up to the voters and who they elect in the future.

2015 years 8 months ago

Hey gang lets not just pick on other two. Davis and his coziness with airlie gardens and past support for titan, catlin and his two faced positions on so many issues like the ballpark and development-just follow the money and barfield who voted yes last night but plays golf regularly with titan lobbyist. Picking on other two doesn’t do justice to the kinds of shennanigans these other self advancing stooges engage in on a regular basis—none of these saints is free from criticism.

Guest 19
2015 years 8 months ago

WWAY, how about pursuing Jason Thompson wearing his military uniform to Louise McColl’s 70th birthday party. His appearance at this function appears to be a violation of USMC uniform code.His presence shows he has no allegiance to his political party. I think they call them RINO’s.As for always challenging someone to a physical confrontation, shows his IMMATURITY. A personal message to Mr. Thompson, in life there is someone who is always bigger and stronger than yourself therefore DO NOT be surprised one day when you have met your match. I will say it was deserved due to your cowboy attitude. I work with two Citadel graduates and they are not impressed with your behavior. Shame on the rest of the board members for not condemning his actions.

2015 years 8 months ago

At laest this time he didn’t challenge someone half his size, to step outside, in the parking lot.

2015 years 8 months ago

Yes, actually, he did. One of the posters below wrote:

“Jason Thompson chased a guy down the steps after the meeting and held up his fist and told the guy he will settle it with him “at an MMA match”. The guy was much smaller than Jason and had a very scared look on his face and walking backwards away from the building trying to move away from Jason. Deputies also came out of the building to intervene in this altercation.”

The guy was apparently half Jason’s size, but they were already in the parking lot. Like I said in a previous post, Jason is nothing but a bully. I sure hope one day someone takes his up on his threats. I would PAY to see that one!