NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – New Hanover County’s Board of Commissioners voted earlier this month to hire attorneys from Ward and Smith to explore the possibility of using eminent domain for the county to purchase the Cheetah Gentlemen’s Club on College Road, next to the county’s government center. The county also set aside $2.3 million for the purchase.
County Manager Chris Coudriet says the county needs the property to create additional parking spaces for the government center.
Jerry Reid is the property owner for Cheetah’s. Reid says he received a notice of condemnation from the county last week. According to state law, the county has to wait 30 days after providing that notice before it can file legal action.
Reid says he would allow the county to use 74 of the club’s parking spaces since the club’s hours do not overlap with when the government center is open. Commissioner LeAnn Pierce says the county should consider that offer or be open to negotiating with the property’s owners.
“I’m a business owner as well and I’m an advocate for private property rights,” said Pierce. “Eminent domain, in this case, is not something that I would be in favor of, and it absolutely should be a last resort at any time.”
County officials say commissioners would have to vote to proceed with the eminent domain process again before taking any legal action involving Cheetah’s.
“What we have been discussing is just opening discussions with the property owner,” said Pierce. “We have not filed eminent domain, we have not moved forward in that direction. We are looking to have discussions with the property owner.”
Commissioner Dane Scalise told Port City Daily that he is also open to the possibility of working with the club’s owners instead of going to court.
The board did not discuss the process at Monday’s meeting. The next Board of Commissioners meeting is scheduled for Dec. 11 at 4 p.m.
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