Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify that Richard Fox represents the seller of the mobile home park, 1400 N. Bragg Property General Partnership.
SPRING LAKE - The Spring Lake Board of Aldermen on Monday approved a rezoning case that will allow a mobile home park to expand.
The board also heard from event organizers who are proposing a Main Street Freedom Festival to be held in the town.
Mayor Kia Anthony opened the meeting with a moment of silence in lieu of an invocation. She also updated the town on the status of hiring a new town attorney.
“We are looking for a replacement for our town attorney,’’ she said. “Jonathan Charleston has agreed to extend his services until a sufficient replacement can be found.”
Charleston submitted his 30-day notice in March.
The board passed a new addition to the Waterford Apartments complex with a rezoning that allows for additional apartments on N.C. 210 before hearing about a proposed mobile home park that would bring more than 200 new mobile homes to Spring Lake.
Richard Fox is a lawyer and real estate broker who represents the seller, 1400 N. Bragg Property General Partnership. He called the project “upscale and modern” and said residents would be proud to live there.
Fox said developers from Time Out Properties, who were purchasing the land, plan to build a park with 288 mobile homes in an area that flooded during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
“This is an opportunity to turn dilapidated land into a beautiful and thriving community,” Fox said.
Time Out Properties, based in Florida, owns mobile home parks in North Carolina and Illinois.
Mark King, general counsel for Time Out Properties, said the company builds clean, safe and affordable communities with 95% being single-wide trailers. He also said there would be 24/7 security patrols after Alderman Marvin Lackman expressed concerns about security.
The plan was brought before the Cumberland County Joint Planning board last week. The planning board voted 4-3 to approve the rezoning case. During the planning board meeting, concerns were raised about mobile homes not aligning with the Cumberland County 2030 Growth Vision Plan. During planning meetings, residents have also said they would like to see other housing options in Spring Lake.
Alderman Raul Palacios said the town stopped allowing mobile home parks around 20 years ago and said he was hopeful another flood would not happen any time soon. He then made the motion to approve the rezoning to allow the additional mobile homes.
The board voted 4-1 to rezone 5.67 acres at 102 Dacha Lane. The 5.67 acres is an addition to an existing mobile home park the owner said he wants to improve and expand. Lackman voted in opposition.
Main Street Freedom Festival
The board also heard from event organizers about the proposed Main Street Freedom Festival, which organizers said would bring country music recording artists Walker Montgomery, Carolyn Miller and Allie Colleen to Spring Lake on July 3.
Keem Jones of Keem Jones Consulting is one of the organizers. He walked the board through the planned events for the festival, which would be hosted by Rustic Burger and the town. The proposed event also would include local artists, bounce houses, food trucks, carnival rides and fireworks.
Trista Schmier, who is one of the organizers along with her husband, Jon, said their interest was doing things for the community.
“We’ve supported the disaster victims in Kentucky and Texas and then did a Christmas toy giveaway for the children in Spring Lake in December,’’ Schmier said. “We thought of this festival in January and brought it to the town.”
Event organizers said they hope to make it an annual event. They said they have raised $14,000 of the $60,000 needed by selling sponsorships. They said they have 15 vendors and hope more will join.
Residents who were at the meeting said they liked the idea of the festival.
“It’s a wonderful thing because these kids need something to do,’’ said John Sanchez, who has lived in Spring Lake since 2016. “With gas prices, we won’t have to leave Spring Lake to see fireworks.”
John Atkins, who has lived in Spring Lake for 25 years, agreed, “We need more recreation opportunities for the kids and adults here.”
Former alderwoman Fredricka Sutherland said she thought it would be a great addition to Spring Lake but had concerns about street closures and businesses being blocked as well as financial concerns.
“Who will be paying for the officers and firemen?” Sutherland asked.
Fire Chief Jason Williams said he would be working with the Police Department to discuss the site plan and how their departments could support the event.
Event organizers said the town would be reimbursed for any costs it incurred.
Alderwoman Sona Cooper asked if Jones had gotten local schools involved, including the new marching band at Spring Lake Middle School.
“We wanted to get this hammered down before we reached out to the school system,’’ Jones said.
Interim Town Manager Joe Durham said logistics need to be discussed along with concerns the aldermen raised about trash pickup and parking.
“There are a lot of things that we are still working on,’’ Durham said. “There is a permit required for parks and recreation, coordinating with police and fire on road closures and, obviously, there is a permit and license requirement associated with the fireworks and all of that is under current review and evaluation.”
He said the town is expected to get an update in May on where organizers are with fundraising and other aspects of the event.
Organizers are expected to provide an update to the board on May 25.
Jami McLaughlin covers Spring Lake for CityView TODAY. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a news tip? Email news@CityViewTODAY.com