Daniels elected new District 1 councilwoman
By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector
Friday, January 11, 2019
Greenville’s newest City Councilwoman joined her colleagues in voting to deny a rezoning request in the Higgs neighborhood area at Thursday’s council meeting.
The Greenville City Council, with a 4-1 vote, selected Pitt County social services supervisor Monica Daniels, to fill the District 1 seat, vacated by Kandie Smith when she was elected to the General Assembly.
Councilman Will Litchfield nominated Daniels.
“It was a tough decision because we had so many wonderful candidates,” he said. “I felt she was a good fit for the council, not that the other ones weren’t, but I thought she would do a great job representing District 1 and the whole city.”
The process started with Mayor P.J. Connelly asking council members for nominations.
Litchfield nominated Daniels followed by Councilwoman Rose Glover nominating Shawan Barr, who briefly served as District 1 councilwoman in 2017, and Councilman Brian Meyerhoeffer nominating Kelly Darden Jr., a member of the Greenville Utilities Commission Board of Commissioners.
The council first voted on Daniels’ nomination. City Attorney Emanuel McGirt advised that the first person to receive a majority of votes would be seated.
Councilmen Will Bell and Rick Smiley joined Litchfield and Meyerhoeffer in voting for Daniels. Glover voted no.
Daniels said she is delighted to join the council.
“I was pleased, I was surprised, I was nervous, of course,” Daniels said. “It was unexplainable to be honest.” But once seated, her nervousness eased.
“As strange as that sounds I felt very comfortable,” she said. “Everybody has been very friendly throughout this process; they’ve been available to answer questions if I needed anything — comfortable, yes.”
Daniels, who plans to run for the seat in November, said she is interested in promoting the city’s housing program. She joined the council in unanimously voting on a resolution that authorized the city to sell a home to Demetris Daniels, a first-time home buyer who is not related to the new councilwoman.
She also is interested in promoting the city’s transportation system and public safety.
Meyerhoeffer said he first met Daniels at an event promoting the Jackie Robinson League.
“From that day on I’ve seen her all over the community,” Meyerhoeffer said. “She doesn’t just talk the talk, she’s walked the walk.”
After Daniels, accompanied by her granddaughter Ja’Kayla Robeson, took the oath of office, the council conducted six public hearings.
One hearing, on a request to rezone .34 acres located on the eastern right-of-way of Watauga Avenue and Farmville Boulevard from residential to heavy commercial, was greeted with protests from the nearby Higgs neighborhood.
The property was part of a larger lot that once housed a convenience store that was legally declared a nuisance and later demolished.
In the fall, the property’s owners — Kenneth and Christine Lloyd — had sought to have a larger parcel rezoned but the request was rejected by the city planning and zoning commission.
They returned with a request to rezone a smaller portion of land adjacent to property they already own that is zoned heavy commercial. Staff recommended the rezoning.
Kenneth Lloyd said he bought the property as part of a package of parcels that had been foreclosures. Lloyd said he did not want to harm the community, but it needed to be combined with the larger parcel because businesses only want to operate on lots that are about one acre is size.
“I can’t help what someone else has done. All I am asking is for a change to put something there to earn my money back,” Lloyd said.
“If you want to get your money back, build some houses. You’ll get your money,” said former City Councilman Rufus Huggins, who spoke against the proposal.
People living in that area spent years working with police to drive out crime and to clean up the community, Huggins said. Children can ride their bicycles now and no one wants to risk bringing in a business that could generate problems.
Frank Morgan has lived in the neighborhood since 1973.
“You couldn’t sleep at night because of the gunshots,” Morgan said, joining the opposition.
Glover made a motion to deny the rezoning request. McGirt, the city attorney, recommended the board first vote on approving the motion, saying it was the usual procedure. If approval failed, then a vote to deny could take place, McGirt. Glover did not withdraw her motion and the vote to deny was unanimous.
Contact Ginger Livingston at firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-329-9570.