by Jordan Green

Items from across the Triad and beyond

Zoning dispute prompts consideration of entertainment district

The Winston-Salem City Council could explore the possibility of creating a downtown entertain- ment district after balking at a rezoning request on Monday evening that members feared would threaten the viability of Ziggy’s and the District Roof Top Bar & Grille in the north anchor section. “High-intensity, crowded, noisy uses are popu- lar with the young people Winston-Salem wants to attract,” said lawyer Donald M. Nielsen, who represents Ziggy’s and the District. “These uses, of course, don’t have to be downtown, but a suc- cessful downtown needs to have a place where they are accepted and ideally would be celebrat- ed as a key ingredient in a vital downtown.” (Disclosure: YES! Weekly Publisher Charles Womack is a part-owner of Ziggy’s, and News Editor Jordan Green works out of an office at the music venue.)

Jonathan Waterbury, a property investor has lived in a building he owns at the southeast corner of North Main Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard for about 15 years. Nielsen said Waterbury has complained about noise from Ziggy’s since it opened last fall. Waterbury is seeking a rezoning from light industrial to pedestrian business, which allows for residential uses. The council could reconsider the request at its next meeting on March 26.

Nielsen told council that residential and entertainment uses are not compatible, and the city should create a new zoning classification to protect the interests of both.

“My clients have met with elected officials and city staff to discuss an alternative, which would protect live entertainment facilities and allow residential,” he said. “The city could embrace the recommendations of downtown plans that formally designate this area as an entertainment district. Within the district there could be measures that would protect entertainment facilities and encourage residential development. It would be explicit that loud noise and late hours are expected, even celebrated.”

East Ward Councilman Derwin Montgomery, who represents the area encompassing Ziggy’s and Waterbury’s property, said he expects the council’s public safety committee to explore the idea of an entertainment district when it next meets on March 19.

Fired GPD officers sue city

Three Greensboro police have filed suit against the city in federal court charging that they were targeted for unwanted transfers, subjected to unwarranted discipline and ultimately fired because of their race.

Charles Cherry, a former captain, along with officers Joseph Pryor, filed the suit on March 2. All three are receiving representation from Anita Earls, executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. Cherry and Pryor are also plaintiffs in a federal discrimination lawsuit filed in 2009 by 39 black officers based on previous events that is now headed for trial.

“In retaliation for their complaints and because of their race and national origin, the GPD discharged all three officers on pre- textual grounds,” the lawsuit alleges. “Their careers shattered and their professional repu- tations called into question, Captain Charles Cherry, Officer Pryor and Officer Reyes have been unable to serve the public in the role of police officer as a result of the discriminatory actions of the GPD.” The lawsuit asks the courts to order the city to immediately reinstate the plaintiffs, quit engaging “in unlawful and discriminatory acts,” put in place training for department employ- ees “responsible for making determinations regarding complaints of discrimination” and “award unspecified compensatory damages to the plaintiffs.”

Forsyth lawmakers honored for supporting nonpartisan redistricting

Five Forsyth County lawmakers were honored at Forsyth Tech on Monday by the NC Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform for supporting legislation to put redistricting under the direction of a nonpartisan professional staff as an alternative to the partisan process controlled by politicians that has widely eroded public trust.

Reps. Dale Folwell, Bill McGee and Larry Brown, who are Republicans, along with Reps. Larry Womble and Earline Parmon, both Democrats, voted for the Nonpartisan Redistricting Process legislation last year. The bill was passed by the House, but stalled in committee once it reached the Senate. The bill could move forward during this year’s short session if the Republican leadership decides to take it up again. All House members in the Guilford County delegation voted for the legislation except Republican John Blust.

Women mobilize for election with training on Saturday

NC Women Matter, a coalition of women’s organizations focused on getting out the female vote this year, will host a one-day training seminar at the Global Learning Center at Bennett College in Greensboro on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Topics of discussion will include “issues that matter to women in the upcoming election” and mobilizing voter registration drives. The new organization’s steering committee currently includes Democracy North Carolina, Women’s Forum of North Carolina, Planned Parenthood, the Latin American Coalition, Moms Rising, the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, Delta Sigma Theta, the NC Association of Educators and NC Women United.