THOMASVILLE — A month after four of seven Thomasville City Council seats changed hands during the 2021 municipal election, the new members joined three incumbent council members and the mayor in conducting the first city business since the election.

Newly sworn council members Jeannette Shephard, Doug Hunt, Lisa Shell and Payton Williams joined Hunter Thrift, Ronald Bratton and Wendy Sellars at the December meeting.

Hunt offered his appreciation for current and former council members, including Scott Styers who was in attendance for Monday’s meeting, in helping the four newcomers gain their footing. Hunt said city personnel, department heads and legal counsel provided training for new council members this month, crediting them with going over many crucial details and exhibiting patience in trying to accelerate the transition.

“I feel like it brought us up to speed a lot quicker than if we had just been thrown in not knowing what was going on,” Hunt said. “I would like to thank the remaining members from the last council for being so helpful and gracious to us as we’ve come on, also to some of our prior council members that have offered counsel to the new people. It helped us in a lot of ways to get up to speed. People don’t realize that a lot goes on here.”

Among its first decisions as a newly-formed council, the governing body elected to suspend a public hearing for a rezoning request on Lexington Avenue. A proposal for 280 new townhomes near Novant Health Thomasville Medical Center is now on hold while additional information for the project is collected. Councilman Hunter Thrift made a motion to suspend the hearing until a traffic study could be completed, a motion that passed 6-1, with Councilman Doug Hunt casting the dissenting vote.

Four people spoke in favor of the rezoning, three representing the developer and the property owner. No one spoke against the request. Mayor Raleigh York Jr. did acknowledge one emailed comment and entered it into the record, but did not read it.

Council also received a call for a public hearing for an economic development project referred to as Viceroy to be held Jan. 18, 2022 at the next regular meeting of council. This project is for an existing company to invest anywhere from $14 million to $22 million dollars and create 75-96 new jobs and keep 100 jobs in the city. Average pay for the jobs will be $47,000 annually.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at kennedy@tvilletimes.com.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at kennedy@tvilletimes.com.

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