Neighborhood Watch begins
By Lynn R. Parks
In response to a recent wave of vandalism, citizens of Greenwood are forming a Neighborhood Watch group. Paula Hughes, whose home and business on Broad Street were broken into in October, is gathering names of people interested in volunteering with the watch.
“Having extra eyes and ears out there will certainly help,” said police Chief Otas Cephas.
Cephas said that incidents of criminal mischief and theft have increased in town since Christmas. “We have also had a couple of business burglarized in the last two to three months,” he said.
In response, the four-man police department has increased its patrols in town, Cephas said. It is also using officers from other agencies to patrol the town.
Cephas declined to say how much the increased patrols is costing the town. “I hate to nail it down to a dollar figure or release how many hours we are working,” he said. “Criminals pay attention to the news just like victims do.”
But he did acknowledge that due to the expense of the increased patrols, “we can’t do them for a long period of time.”
Hughes criticized the department for spending time on US 13, checking for speeders, rather than in town.
“Instead of being out on the highway at night, they need to be patrolling the town,” added Debbie Willey, West First Street.
“I don’t think that citizens can tell us how to run our operation,” Cephas said. “We have duties that we must perform, and they include traffic enforcement and town patrols. We are doing that.”
Hughes, who owns Paula’s Place for Cakes, said that a video camera, jewelry and antique coins were stolen from her home in October. At the same time, the cash register was taken from her business. No arrest has been made.
“This is very frustrating,” said Hughes, who has lived in town for 18 years. “This is a town where everybody knows everybody. Where you could keep your car unlocked, your house unlocked, and you knew that everything was going to be OK. I don’t feel that way anymore. I feel very unsafe.”
Willey said that her husband David, a Greenwood native, and her brother-in-law Kevin Whaley have started patrolling the neighborhood. “They walk all around at night, checking to make sure nothing is going on,” she said. “There are a lot of good people in this town. My husband has lived here all his life and this is the first time he remembers anything like this.”
Barbara Whaley, North First Street, said that a carton of cigarettes was stolen from her car last Monday. “Police don’t seem to want to catch the guy,” she said. Despite the fact that her brother believes he saw the person responsible, “they don’t seem to want to get a description,” she said.
But Cephas defends his force. “Nationally, there is one policeman for every 1,000 people,” he said. “Here we have four officers for about 800 people, and it is still not enough to completely prevent this type of thing from happening. When you just have four people to cover 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and you still want to give your officers a day off here and there to spend time with their families, you have to run a pretty tight ship.”
American Girl Club
On Friday, Feb. 14, at 6:30 p.m., the Greenwood Public Library will hold its monthly American Girl Club with friendship in mind. Local girls ages eight and up are invited to bring a best friend and join us as we make special friendship bracelets. Refreshments will be served. Call or stop by to pre-register today! The Greenwood Library is located on the corner of Market and Mill streets, next door to the Post Office. For more information, call 349-5309.
The Ellendale Ruritan Club will host a Ham/Turkey Shoot on the fourth Saturday of the month now through April, at 11:30 p.m., at Ellendale V.F.W., Road 607 (1/2 mile south of Rt. 113 and 16 intersection). This month it will be held Feb. 22. Refreshments will be available for sale.
Bridgeville okays zone, hears from developers
By Mike McClure
On Monday, Feb. 10, Bridgeville Town Commissioners passed an ordinance that will create an Agricultural Overlay Zone in town.
The commissioners also introduced an new ordinance that would address deteriorating and dilapidated homes, and received an update from Allen and Rocks, Inc., which is developing a golf course and development on land that was annexed by the town.
The commission held its second reading of an amendment to chapter 234, which would create an Agricultural Industrial Overlay Zone for land (20 acres or more) that is used for agriculture at the time it is annexed into the town.
The ordinance allows for uses such as houses, orchards, beekeeping, welding shops, seed and fertilizer sales, and roadside stands but would not allow chicken houses and livestock operations to fall under this zoning.
The Agricultural Industrial Overlay Zone came about because businesses such as Kenny Farms, which are agricultural related, are currently zoned as manufacturing when they are annexed by the town.
The ordinance, which was unanimously passed by the commission, requires that manufacturing must be within the structure and outside storage must be screened (for a property to be considered for the new zoning). The commission can create additional conditions on an individual basis.
Commission president Joe Conaway said the ordinance is the first of its kind in the state. He added that it will allow Kenny Farms (146 acres currently zoned as manufacturing) to be downzoned to residential with an agricultural industrial overlay.
Robert Rauch and Nick Rocks, who were present at Monday’s meeting, gave the commission an update on the development and golf course (Bridgeville South) that will be constructed on land that was recently annexed into town. The project is currently in the design phase.
Rauch and Rocks reported that the town engineer is looking at their water and wastewater plan and consultants are doing soil and groundwork investigations. They also said that the had an initial conversation with the state regarding the planning of a main entrance on Route 13, but the state needs to look at the whole site plan before a decision is made.
"We're going from a concept to pinning down that master plan,” said Rauch, who is president of Robert D. Rauch and Associates, Inc.
Earlier in the meeting a new ordinance that deals with deteriorating and dilapidated homes was introduced and discussed by the commission. The ordinance would consist of a step by step procedure to deal with problem buildings.
"It will begin the final step to get rid of some of these eyesores we have in town," said Conaway. "This is a giant step for Bridgeville."
The proposed ordinance calls for a committee to be formed to consider the demolition of deteriorating and dilapidated buildings.
Commissioner Earl Greason questioned whether the committee would consist of qualified individuals. Conaway said the committee would consist of three members appointed by the Commission, at least one of which would be a qualified to judge whether a building is dilapidated.
Under the ordinance the property owner would meet with the committee once and would also come before the Commission to state his or her case. The commission will hold the second reading of the proposed ordinance during next month’s meeting.