Rosman May Ban Pit Bulls — Rosman NC
Last updated 7/11/2012 at 4:26pm
Banning pit bulls and charging commercial outfitters and camps a river access fee at Champion Park were the two topics that dominated discussion at the Rosman Board of Aldermen meeting Tuesday night.
Alderman Walter “Chub” Pettit said the town has a bad problem with dogs, particularly pit bulls, running loose. He asked if the town could ban pit bulls.
Town Attorney Donald Barton said the town could ban pit bulls, but the difficulty is defining a pit bull, which is complicated since the animals are mixed breeds.
Chub Pettit also said the town needs to have a leash law because large dogs are threatening some people.
“We need to keep them off the streets,” he said.
He also said some dogs are chained so close to water meters that town employees cannot read the meters.
Alderman Roger Petit said that if dogs prevent town employees from reading water meters, then the water bill for that owner needs to be doubled.
“We shouldn’t put our employees at risk to read a meter,” he said.
Barton said the town has ordinances regarding loose dogs, but the county animal control office does not enforce those ordinances.
“They won’t do it,” said Barton.
Pettit said he had trapped one of the loose dogs and turned it over to the Animal Shelter. But the owner then paid the $10 fee and the dog was back loose on the streets the very next day.
Barton said all of the town’s ordinances have criminal and civil penalties. But he said neither the magistrate’s office nor the district attorney’s office follows through on pursuing criminal charges. He said the district attorney’s office has not prosecuted any violations of the town’s ordinances since Will Cathey was the assistant district attorney.
Since the town has no police force of its own, Barton said the town has been filing civil actions.
Pettit said some of those who allow dogs to roam free have nothing to lose in a civil case because they have no money.
“We’ve been through this before,” said Roger Petit of the lack of enforcement regarding loose dogs.
He said the town might have a little more clout once the new Animal Shelter is built and the town provides water access to the shelter.
Barton recommended the aldermen, as a group, express their concerns to the magistrate and district attorney.
“You need to go to them in force,” said Barton.
Chub Pettit said loose dogs are not the only enforcement issue in the town.
“Eventually, we’re going to have to have a police officer of our own in Rosman,” he said.
River Access Fees
Pettit broached the idea of charging river access fees at Champion Park after Sid Cullipher, owner of Headwaters Outfitters and a member of the French Broad Working Group, presented the results of a survey of landowners along the river.
Cullipher said he is very appreciative of the town’s efforts to improve the river access at Champion Park.
He also said he supports impact fees for commercial users, but cautioned that if the town tries to place fees on individuals, those individuals might seek another river access that is free.
As a commercial outfitter, he said he would prefer to be charged an annual fee to have access to Champion Park.
Cullipher said on his business’s heaviest days, he puts about 200 people on the river. Annually, his business puts about 6,500 people on the river.
The impact fees could include camps that use the river as well as commercial outfitters.
Pettit said that if the town is to enhance the river access at Champion Park by installing bathrooms, grills, more parking area and an improved river access, it will cost money – money that could partially come from impact fees.
Cullipher agreed that better sites do attract more visitors, but that people usually do not expect to pay fees when accessing a river in a town whereas they are more accustomed to paying such fees at state and national parks.
Roger Petit asked Cullipher if he and his staff instruct their clientele about property owners’ rights before they begin paddling and floating down the river.
Cullipher said his staff tells clients to stay off the riverbanks unless there is a medical emergency.
“It’s been a sore subject for me,” said Petit, who owns land along the river. He said he often goes down to the river to enjoy his own property only to find rafters on his property.
Petit said property owners are apprehensive to making the river more accessible because people who pay no taxes on the land are enjoying it while those who own the land and pay taxes do not get to enjoy it. Cullipher said he believes those who live along the river could profit from those using the river by opening up a fruit or drink stand along the river.
“I’d encourage that,” said Cullipher.
Cullipher said Rosman is “a unique place” because it is located at the beginning of the French Broad River, and that the town and commercial enterprises should work together to capitalize on that fact.
Mayor Brian Shelton reported that work on the sewer line extension to Hooper’s Mobile Home Park is now 70 percent complete. He said the project should be completed by the middle of August unless bad weather delays the work.