An American Legion post based in Clayton may use a house in a residential neighborhood for its meetings and other events. Johnston County commissioners approved the post’s rezoning request, July 1.
Post 518, which owns a house on Slate Top Road near Clayton, currently meets at Rainbow Lanes Family Fun Center on N.C. Highway 42, but Commander Jerry Mangum said the Legionnaires need more space of their own for programming. For starters, they would like to set up a computer lab to teach computer literacy to veterans, he said.
“We have a lot of senior veterans who are like dinosaurs when it comes to computers,” Mangum told commissioners July 1. “We’re trying to fix that.”
Mangum said the post is also interested reaching young people. It would like to start after-school and mentoring programs, using veterans as volunteers.
“We feel that once we have a home, we can really help the community out as well with after-school programs,” Mangum said.
But the post also hopes to rent out the house for parties and other special events, which gave some commissioners pause. The county’s planning staff recommended the post be allowed to host parties until 1 a.m., but Commissioner Allen Mims pointed out that the county’s noise ordinance kicks in four fours before that.
And since the house is in a residential area, Mims said, neighbors might be less tolerant of noise.
“I’m not against anything you’re doing,” Mims told Mangum, “but that’s what I get the most calls about – noise.”
Mangum pledged to warn neighbors ahead of time about parties and work with them to keep the noise down. The post will also have someone monitoring all private events – either a Legionnaire or an off-duty sheriff’s deputy.
It’s common for Legion posts to rent out their spaces for events, and Mangum said Post 518 will follow the national organization’s protocols.
“We’ve got bylaws as well,” he said. “If we’re not playing by the rules and regulations, we’ll get our charter pulled.”
The board unanimously approved the post’s rezoning petition and special-use permit. But commissioners reminded the Legionnaires to use the space responsibly.
“American Legion posts are usually rented out for events,” Commissioner Tony Braswell said. “At the end of the day, they’re still responsible for solving the problem.”
Landfill to accept outside waste
Commissioners also agreed to allow the county landfill to accept waste from outside of Johnston. The agreement will allow private hauler Waste Industries to dump 30,000 tons of out-of-county waste in Johnston. Commissioners will review the agreement after one year.
Garbage intake at the landfill has fallen 25 percent since 2006, and construction debris has been cut in half, reducing revenue. That fall-off is making it hard for the county to operate its solid-waste convenience centers.
The landfill has more than 500 acres of unused space, and county leaders have been considering importing trash and debris from outside of Johnston. That could shorten landfill’s lifespan by a few decades, but the solid waste department estimates it will still have more than 50 years left.
County Manager Rick Hester said the county might reach deals with other haulers but is sticking with Waste Industries for now.
“We put our cards on the table about our flow going down, and Waste Industries pretty much stepped up to partner with us,” Hester said.