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City Council approves gunshot technology with public forums, contract modifications

City leaders favorable to downtown social district, too


The Fayetteville City Council on Monday night voted to proceed with implementing gunshot-reporting technology on a 6-4 vote that would require three public forums.

The council voted 6-4 to authorize the city manager to pursue a contract with ShotSpotter after holding forums on Dec. 6, 8 and 9 on whether to proceed with its implementation.

City Manager Doug Hewett asked if the council could be flexible on the dates and the terms of the contract.

Councilwoman Kathy Jensen then amended her motion to agree to three available dates for public forums.

Councilman Deno Hondros seconded her motion.

City Attorney Karen McDonald asked if there would be no amendments to the contract.

Hondros withdrew his second, but the vote was 6-4 in favor of the motion.

Those voting in favor of Jensen’s motion were Jensen, Mayor Mitch Colvin and council members Johnny Dawkins, D.J. Haire, Brenda McNair and Derrick Thompson. Those opposed were Hondros, Mario Benavente, Courtney Banks-McLaughlin and Shakeyla Ingram.

That followed a motion by Benavente that the council not proceed with the contract. The vote was 7-3, with Benavente, Banks-McLaughlin and Ingram voting to reject pursuing a contract

”I ask that you not move forward with this,” Ingram said. “Maybe we revisit it within a year. We learn what is worth doing with communities and also recognize that we have a good license plate reader program that works. I think we should continue to work with this and continue to support our community and community safety all the ways that we can. I do think it would be within our best interests to revisit this later.”

In other business, the City Council held a public hearing on the adoption of a downtown social district.

Last year, the N.C. General Assembly enacted legislation allowing municipalities to designate social districts where alcoholic beverages sold by licensed premises could be consumed outside bars and restaurants.

According to agenda documents, the city and the Cool Spring Downtown District have worked together to support designating a social district downtown where alcoholic beverages could be consumed on the street. The district would be “a valuable tool to increase economic activity and the vibrancy of downtown Fayetteville,” according to the documents.

Taurus Freeman, assistant director of economic and community development for the city, and Bianca Shoneman, president and CEO of Cool Spring Downtown District, argued for implementation of the social district.

On Sept. 6, the City Council had directed its staff to work with Cool Spring Downtown District officials to advance a social district.

Shoneman said the district concept “is designed to increase foot traffic in urban cores, to level the playing field between big-box retailers and independent retailers. We, as the downtown, really love this concept and have been working with city staff, downtown merchants and property owners over the course of the last year to bring it forward.”

Several cities in the state have approved a social district plan, including Greensboro, Charlotte, Raleigh, Wilson, Kannapolis and Monroe.

The council approved establishing a social district from noon to 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. For the first year, it would be open on a trial basis.

The vote was 9-1, with Councilman Haire the lone dissenter.

Michael Futch covers Fayetteville and education for CityView. He can be reached at mfutch@cityviewnc.com 

Fayetteville, City Council, social district, gunshot technology