ROSEBORO — The board has made adequate security measures on the property of the town’s helipad, adopting an ordinance during Tuesday night’s meeting that went into effect Thursday.
The town has secured the premises with fencing and instated an ordinance that prosecutes trespassers and violators with a fine.
Town attorney Sandy Sanderson presented an ordinance to the board for adoption that cites any trespassers with a criminal violation and comes with a $500 fine. The ordinance became effective Thursday, following completion of the fencing. Signs have been erected on the property to inform violators of the illegal action.
“The helipad is first class,” newly elected mayor Alice Butler attested. “Roseboro should be very proud.”
Those who are caught trespassing, Sanderson pointed out, will be guilty of a misdemeanor charge, punishable with the steep fine. The case will go through the court system, alleviating the town’s responsibility of collecting the money.
“We want a zero tolerance ordinance,” Commissioner Anthony Bennett said during last month’s meeting.
The ordinance addresses the area of the helipad that is designated with a fence as being the subject of the trespass violation. Security plans included a steel fence around the helipad landing zone with additional white fencing around the entire property. One side of the land is blocked with a ditch, leaving the area open to question.
“The fencing adequately reflects the borders,” Sanderson said.
During last month’s meeting, concern for interpretation was addressed by board members, as well as sheriff’s officials, sending Sanderson back to the drawing board for wording of the ordinance. Sanderson, along with town clerk Tony Blalock and commissioner Cary Holland, visited the property to make sure wording properly addressed all issues of concern.
During the November meeting, the board allocated an additional $6,500 to cover the cost of the security measure for the helipad project. This was in addition to the $33,493 spent on the actual project.
According to Holland, the fencing will serve as a protective barrier around the helipad and protect the town’s property. Holland was absent from Tuesday night’s meeting because he was working to finish the helipad fencing, working into the late hours of the night.
“Cary wants to see this thing done,” Commissioner Ray Clark Fisher said. “He has worked hard on this project making sure it’s done right.”
The concern about trespassing was brought up by, saying they knew the fencing wouldn’t keep all trespassers off the property, but would be a good measure. That discussion prompted the proposal of the ordinance and fine, in addition to the posted signage.
When the board voted in the summer to proceed with the helipad project, commissioners expressed their desires to enforce a “no tolerance policy” when enforcing the ordinance related to trespassing on the property. Offenders will be criminally cited a fine if caught on the premises unauthorized.
Funds to cover the cost of the helipad were raised through fundraisers and given as donations, and have assisted in the payment of the total costs — projected to be $33,493. Of the total cost, $14,940 actually came from the contributed monies, while the town will pulled the remaining $18,553 from town funds.
According to Lee Coleman, fire chief for the Roseboro Fire Department, having the helipad located in Roseboro will be a huge asset to the emergency personnel working in and around Sampson County. With the projected traffic on the new four-lane N.C. 24 expected to increase, Coleman said the helipad is a greater necessity now.
In addition to being recognized as the Roseboro Municipal Helipad by both state and county officials, the Federal Aviation Administration has recognized the helipad and designated it 7NC6.
“This gives us one more option that will cut down on the time it takes to get someone to the proper facility to help with their emergency needs,” Coleman said during an earlier interview with the Sampson Independent.“The helipad certainly helps the citizens of Roseboro, and Sampson County, by being a space to land a helicopter.”
In the event of an accident or medical emergency that requires a helicopter to land, the fire department will be responsible for providing access to the facility. Only members of the fire department and Emergency Management Services, as well as town employees, will have access to the code to open the property.
Commissioners voted Tuesday night to make the fire department responsible for clearing the helipad for landing in the event of snow storms in the area. Quarter inspections will be performed at the site, in compliance with FAA standards.
The helipad will be located on the town’s property behind the dialysis center. The exact address will be 210 S. East Street, Roseboro.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.