Cumberland Outlook: A look ahead to the Fayetteville City Council meeting

The Fayetteville City Council will meet for its regular session on Monday. On the agenda are two important decisions to be made:

(1) A request to review a contract with ShotSpotter, the shot detection service.

(2) The creation of a new downtown social precinct, a designated area where alcohol can be purchased from a licensed ABC approver and then consumed outdoors.

ShotSpotter

At a council meeting in August, Mayor Mitch Colvin and council member Kathy Jensen stated that ShotSpotter was a technology that would help reduce crime in Fayetteville. Violent crime in the city has increased over the past year and is among the highest rates in North Carolina, CPP reported in March.

ShotSpotter is a shot detection system. The company uses acoustic sensors placed in a 3 square mile area and uses artificial intelligence to detect gunfire and report it to local police. The ShotSpotter website states that the technology allows police to respond to gunfire in under a minute.

The city has not yet determined where the radius will be in Fayetteville.

Other cities in eastern North Carolina are using ShotSpotter’s technology, such as Goldsboro, Rocky Mount, Greenville and Wilmington, The Associated Press reported. Durham and Winston-Salem have approved deals with the company, according to reports from CBS17 and WXII12.

The one-year, $197,500 contract that was on the agenda for Monday’s meeting with ShotSpotter was originally approved by the Fayetteville City Council in August, despite council members’ concerns about the technology’s effectiveness Mario Benavente and Shakeyla Ingramreported Carolina Public Press.

In September, after calls from Benavente and other council members, the city council reconsidered the city’s contract with ShotSpotter. That vote ended 5-5, resulting in no firm direction for the city, CPP reported.

At tonight’s meeting, the Council will re-examine the treaty in hopes of reaching a majority agreement. One of three things could happen.

(1) If the contract is approved, the city will continue ShotSpotter’s services.

(2) If the contract is not approved, the city will not spend the $197,500 and ShotSpotter’s shot detection services will not be deployed in Fayetteville.

(3) If the votes are tied again, the city council must decide on the further fate of the contract in one of its next meetings. There is no specific deadline for when the contract must be approved.

While there is no public hearing on this decision, community members can share their thoughts on ShotSpotter by registering to speak here on Monday’s public forum.

Public hearing of the social district

At tonight’s meeting, the City Council will hold a public hearing before deciding on the creation of a new social district for downtown Fayetteville.

Other cities throughout North Carolina have their own social districts such as Raleigh and Charlotte. Durham and Greensboro have also designated outdoor drinking areas, according to reports from Spectrum News 1 . Social districts are possible in North Carolina because the state legislature passed HB 890 last year.

When Raleigh created its own social district in August, city leaders previously stated, as detailed on the city’s website, that social districts are “a valuable tool in increasing economic activity and vibrancy” in inner cities.

A social precinct is a federally defined outdoor area where people can drink alcoholic beverages outside of participating restaurants and bars. The outdoor area is limited to a certain limit.

Fayetteville’s boundary would extend from Winslow Street to the intersection of Otis F. Jones Parkway and Bow Street. The area is close to the CBD’s CBD and aligns with Hay Street and Person Street.

Drinks must be consumed in a designated social district cup provided by participating restaurants and bars. Drinks may not be taken to another location where alcohol is served. Each retail establishment must permit beverages to be carried within its facility.

Participating bars and restaurants in downtown Fayetteville include Bright Light Brewing Co., Antonella’s Italian Ristorante and Gaston Brewing Co..

Under the ordinance prepared by City of Fayetteville employees, the downtown social district would be open Fridays and Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m

Click here to register for the public hearing.

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