Council cuts line on man’s shop expansion

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Thomas Womble can extend the hours of his bait and tackle shop.

He can even sell fresh seafood.

But with a 4-3 vote Wednesday, the Suffolk City Council shot down the northern Suffolk man’s other efforts to expand his business, Nansemond River Bait and Tackle.

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Womble had also asked council to approve a conditional use permit allowing him to operate a 750-foot commercial fishing pier and for authority rent non-motorized boats.

Mayor E. Dana Dickens III and council members Curtis Milteer and Leroy Bennett supported those efforts.

Earlier this fall, the city’s planning commission recommended denial of the conditional use permit.

&uot;I’m hoping we will look at this clearly,&uot; said Milteer, adding that some opposed the initial construction of the business more than a decade ago because of the type of customers who would be using it.

&uot;There were hidden agendas based on the people who were allowed to use the facilities,&uot; he said. &uot;Zoning will affect the property values in the area.

&uot;We are in an integrated society. We are not living in the 1960s. We have to adjust ourselves to the changes.&uot;

More than 100 people jammed into the Suffolk City Council chambers on Wednesday, but about half that number supported Womble.

Neighbors opposed the expansion for several reasons: safety, concerns about alcohol use and the proximity to their homes.

&uot;If it was next to your home, I think you would be a little concerned,&uot; said a resident who lives next door. &uot;Also, no other fishing pier in the area has a residence with 40 feet of it.&uot;