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

READ MORE: Jason Thompson and audience have heated exchange at New Hanover County Commissioners meeting

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.


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