WINSTON-SALEM TO APPEAL CASE TO NC SUPREME COURT
The city of Winston-Salem wants the courts to release statements made by several current and former Winston-Salem police officers involved in the criminal investigation of the 1995 Jill Marker-Silk Plant Forest assault case. Kalvin Michael Smith was convicted by of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and armed robbery. A citizens review committee concluded in 2009 that there was no credible evidence to link Smith to the crime.
Last week, the Winston-Salem City Council directed City Attorney Angela Carmon to petition the NC Supreme Court for a review of the case. Earlier this month, the NC Court of Appeals reversed a decision by Superior Court Judge Richard Stone to release the police officers’ statements. The three-judge panel ruled that transcripts of the interviews should be considered part of the officers’ personnel records and therefore confidential as mandated by state law.
Since the judges’ decision was unanimous, the city of Winston-Salem does not have an automatic right to an appeal, said Assistant City Attorney Al Andrews.
“You have to make an appeal on a number of factors — the subject matter of the case involves legal principles of major significance to the law or the case involves issues of significant public interest,” Andrews said. “That’s the angle or avenue through which we would send this petition.”
The city has until Nov. 8 to file its petition with the courts. — KTB
CITY OF GREENSBORO RECALI- BRATES GROWTH STRATEGY
The Greensboro City Council is considering a major revision to the city’s water and sewer policy that would end a practice of extending water and sewer lines to residential subdivisions and retail centers without immediately annexing them. Over the past 20 years the city has extended infrastructure to unincorporated areas such as Rock Creek and Forest Oaks under the agreement that property owners would agree to be annexed. When the city attempted to act on one such agreement in the McLeansville area, residents protested that they had been unaware of the developer’s agree ment and the courts ruled against the city.
“If we extend water and sewer lines, our intention is to annex it immediately, with the exception of economic development projects,” said Deputy City Manager Bob Morgan.
“There’s a few other things, but they’re not that significant.”
Morgan, who retires at the end of the month, said the city would likely consider requests by individual residential users to tap onto existing lines to Forest Oaks, but would no longer consider approving major residential subdivision and retail center projects in the area.
Recent legislation approved by the NC General Assembly is also forcing the city to take a more cautious approach with involuntary annexations.
“The way the new law is set up the city can go through a city-initiated annexation, and the people who live in that area have a right to exercise a petition,” Morgan said. “If they can get 60 percent of the people who live in that area to sign the petition, then the annexation is voided.”
Morgan said the new policy sets the city on a course of more sustainable development that has the potential to curb urban sprawl.
“The new annexation law helps the city from the standpoint of forcing the issues that we need to develop that property that is closest to the existing city limits,” he said. “That does create some issues probably for the development community.” — JG
ROTH NAMED NEW INTERIM CITY MANAGER IN GREENSBORO
The Greensboro City Council was expected to appoint Denise Turner Roth as interim city manager at a special meeting on Tuesday, following City Manager Rashad Young’s resignation to join the city of Alexandria in Virginia as city manager. Roth was hired as assistant city manager for community affairs and communications by then-City Manager Mitchell Johnson in 2008. Roth has previously served as vice president for governmental affairs at the Greensboro Partnership, district liaison for US Rep. Brad Miller and public space manager for the District of Columbia Department of Transportation.
The city council is expected to undertake a search process to find a permanent replacement for Young. — JG