Log in Newsletter


Summit on Fayetteville Office of Community Safety scheduled for April 30


Coming off the heels of a Thursday community-wide discussion on Fayetteville’s Office of Community Safety, the city plans to hold a summit on the proposed public safety alternative at the close of this month, the City Manager’s Office announced Monday.

Jodi Phelps, chief of staff, said during the city council’s Monday agenda session that her office had scheduled the summit to be held April 30 at Fayetteville State University’s student center. 

The summit will include a roundtable discussion with various community stakeholders on the formation of the office and a presentation from Dr. Gerard Tate, an expert on violence prevention currently reviewing Fayetteville’s police and crime data. His findings will help guide the council’s trajectory for creating the OCS.

Council members were pleased a date had been selected, but requested a special meeting to take place before the summit. The council voted unanimously to schedule the meeting before the April 30 meeting, during which council members, potentially in small groups, can review some of Tate’s preliminary findings about Fayetteville’s crime and police data. 

Here’s what else happened at Monday’s meeting: 

Bus ordinance

  • What happened: The council voted 7-3 in support of Council Member Derrick Thompson’s request to review the city’s ordinances on school buses parked on private property. Council Members Benavente, Deno Hondros and Courtney Banks-McLaughlin voted against the measure. 
  • What’s next: Staff will present their review of the city’s current laws on this topic at an upcoming work session. 

Fire station playground 

  • What happened: The council voted unanimously to approve Council Member Malik Davis’ request to have staff assess the financial impact and feasibility of the construction of a playground at Fire Station 16.
  • What’s next: Staff will present their findings at a future council meeting.

Amusement park 

  • What happened: The council voted unanimously to approve Council Member Brenda McNair’s request to have council members hear a presentation from Robert Van Geons of the Fayetteville Cumberland County Economic Development Corporation about the possibilities of recruiting a developer to build an amusement park in Fayetteville.
  • What’s next: Assuming there are no scheduling conflicts, the council will hear the presentation at its May work session. 

Bus fares 

  • What happened: The council voted to approve McNair’s motion to have staff do an analysis on the potential impact of removing city bus fares for elderly and disabled individuals. 

Immigrant communities 

  • What happened: At the end of the four-hour-long meeting, the council voted 4-4 against Benavente’s request to pass a resolution affirming the city’s support for immigrant communities. Benavente, McNair and McLaughlin voted in favor, and Council Member Lynne Greene, Davis, Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Jensen and Mayor Mitch Colvin voted against the resolution. Council Members Hondros, Thompson and D.J. Haire had left the meeting prior to the vote on the final item.  Thompson and Haire did not get a vote because they were officially excused but Hondros voted yes automatically because he was not  officially excused. 

Presentations the council heard Monday:

  • Fayetteville Woodpeckers review: The Fayetteville Woodpeckers have been playing home games at Segra Stadium since 2019, when the minor-league baseball affiliate of  Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros set down roots here. During a presentation Monday, the team’s general manager, Michelle Skinner, told the council that the Woodpeckers would like to be more engaged with city events. Skinner said the Woodpeckers’ management is working on a process to open up the stadium to the public for recreational uses during certain times while considering the extensive security measures needed to open up the stadium. 
  • Housing plan review: The council heard about the city’s proposed 2024-25 Housing and Urban Development annual action plan detailing federal funding requests for three city programs: the Community Development Block Grant, the Home Investment Partnership and the Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS. Staff said there will be a public hearing for the plan’s adoption at the April 22 council meeting. 
  • Demolitions and code enforcement: Code enforcement actions intended to reduce compliance times for violations — as per the council’s direction last October — have decreased the time between when owners are notified of violations and when the city demolishes unsafe buildings, with an average time of two weeks. According to code enforcement staff, there are 117 dangerous buildings in the city with open demolition cases. In comparison, there were 1,200 dangerous and blighted building cases last year, staff said. 
  • Employee compensation: The Human Resources department presented several options for the city to increase pay for employees in the upcoming fiscal year, especially police officers and firefighters whose departments have dealt with ongoing recruitment and retention issues. There was some debate among the council about the best option to pursue, and those discussions will continue as the council begins fiscal year 2024-25 budget discussions in May.
  • Murchison Road grocery store: The council heard a report on several options to address food insecurity and bring about healthy food options for residents in the Murchison Road corridor, including recruiting a traditional grocery store, assisting community-led efforts to establish a grocery co-op or enhancing healthy food options at current retailers in the corridor. A grocery store with healthy food was identified as a top community need during the development of the Murchison Choice Implementation grant, which is still being considered.
  • City-, county-, and state-owned property: The council heard an administrative report on properties owned by the city, county and state that city staff has identified as possible “surplus” properties in Fayetteville. If the city or the Public Works Commission doesn’t have use for these properties, they can be declared as surplus and be sold for return to the tax roll.
  • Demolition liens: The council heard a presentation on potential enforcement options for liens from city-initiated demolitions. A lien is the city’s claim to a property after an owner fails to pay a debt the city incurred when it demolished an unsafe structure. The council can decide to actively enforce the liens, such as by selling the properties, or to wait for owners to pay the liens voluntarily. 

Contact Evey Weisblat at eweisblat@cityviewnc.com or 216-527-3608. 

To keep CityView Today going and to grow our impact even more, we're asking our committed readers to consider becoming a member. Click here to join.

OCS, community safety