North Cooleemee property annexed

Published 8:30 am Thursday, April 2, 2015

COOLEEMEE – Town board members here unanimously approved the satellite annexation of a lot at 195 Neely St. in what was once known as North Cooleemee.

It is a satellite annexation because no part of the property is contiguous with the current town limits.

Warren and Steve Fleming had asked for the annexation so they could get the property re-zoned to allow a business there. Their mother once operated a beauty shop there.

The property was zoned by the town as “office/institutional.”

While Warren said at the beginning of the hearing at the town board meeting that 100 people could be hired, his brother later said it would be one person inside the building. It would serve as a call center for electronic repairs. The call comes in, the operator links the location with a worker (veterans trained by the company) and sends them to complete the work.

It would be open from 9-5 daily with little in and out traffic, Steve said.

Most people in the neighborhood spoke in favor of the annexation and zoning at the public hearing.

Barry Melton, president of the Concerned Citizens of North Cooleemee, asked how it would affect the neighborhood, and if any jobs would go to people in the area. “It’s not going to affect the neighborhood,” Steve Fleming said.

Johnny Rice was concerned about a possible cell tower. Fleming said that would not happen on the small lot. “The only thing you will see is maybe a fence and the grass gets growing.”

“That site has always been commercial,” said neighbor, Bessie Wilson. “This annexation would produce needed jobs.”

“These brothers – they are helping to clean up the neighborhood,” said Marvin Sullivan.

Sue Correll urged the board to deny the request, saying it would set a precedent. The property will not provide much property tax revenue and only one job, she said. “I think you will hang your heads in shame if you approve this.”

Charles Deese said the Flemings are trying to improve the neighborhood. “Don’t stop progress. That area down there needs to change. It needs to be cleaned up.”

“This would be a bigger opportunity for our community,” said Kathy Clement.

KC Smith said  the annexation could help with pride in the community. “It will be a ripple effect of being better. The past is in the past. We’re very fortunate for them to even consider this.”

Mayor Lynn Rumley said: “When somebody takes an initiative in Cooleemee, we should support it.”