City approves drive-thru, changes to parking tickets

Dec. 04, 2013 @ 09:04 AM

A new restaurant with a drive-thru lane may be coming to U.S. 321 north of Ruby Tuesday, despite opposition by people who live nearby.

A company called MGM of Lenoir requested a special use district and permit to allow a drive-thru on a property north of Hospital Avenue on the west side of U.S. 321, with a secondary exit onto Woodland Place, a dead-end street with some residential properties.

Mitchell and Donna Medford of 311 Woodland Place said during Tuesday night’s Lenoir City Council meeting that their five children play on the street, and the traffic from a restaurant would make it unsafe.

“We just want to preserve the quality of life and safety for our kids,” Mitchell Medford said.

Linda Tate of 317 Woodland Place and Alice Austin of 309 Woodland Place also worried that the development would hurt their property values. 

John Moore of MGM said the N.C. Department of Transportation is requiring the exit from the property onto Woodland.

To make the exit safer, the city council approved a stipulation that a physical barrier be built to discourage anyone exiting the property from turning north on Woodland Place.

Council members T.J. Rohr, Ike Perkins and Crissy Thomas voted against the special use district.

The city council also approved ordinance changes to sharply increase late fees for unpaid parking tickets. A parking citation still incurs a fine of $5 initially, with violators having 30 days to pay the fine without penalty, but then it will double. After 60 days, another $5 is added, and after 90 days, $10 is added, making the final fine $25.

The change comes in an effort to apply some teeth to the city’s ability to collect fines from parking tickets, needing to meet a $50 threshold in order for the city to use the N.C. Debt Setoff Clearinghouse to recoup the money from a violator’s income tax return.

In other business, the council also approved applying for a federal grant from the Environmental Protection Administration to assist with the cleanup of any environmental problems at a former Broyhill Furniture plant at the corner of College Avenue and Virginia Street. Grants are available to cities to help cleanup sites that may be petroleum, pollutants, contaminants or other hazardous substances, and can range up to $200,000.