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Lee County residents turned away from public meeting in gated community

Sanford Herald (3/8/14): Lee County commissioners held a town hall-style meeting in the private Carolina Trace community Friday night. Residents who refused to give their names to the Carolina Trace security guard were denied entry. 

The Lee County Commissioners are holding a series of town hall-style meetings around the county and had one scheduled for Friday night in the Carolina Trace gated community. The initial public notice for the meeting indicated only Carolina Trace residents would be allowed to attend. After questioning from the Sanford Herald and others about excluding non-residents, the commissioners put out a second notice indicating the meeting would be open to the public-at-large, in compliance with the N.C. Open Meetings Law

People who showed up Friday night were asked to provide their names by a security guard for the community. Those who didn't, were denied entry into the meeting. That included a Lee County commissioner, Amy Dalrymple, who was eventually let in and complained that because of the security guard's demands, the meeting violated the open meetings law. The law clearly states that "any person is entitled to attend" meetings that are covered by the act, and does not allow collecting of names of those in attendance. 

Lee County Commissioner Chairman Charlie Parks said the incident was a result of miscommunication and was not intentional. 

Read the Sanford Herald coverage here

Jonathan Jones,
3/9/2014 1:25 PM