NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - New Hanover County Commissioners delayed a decision Friday on voting for a replacement for former chairman Ted Davis after questions arose about the recommended replacement's residency.
County Republicans nominated local attorney Melissa Gott, who has served on the planning commission, for the temporary post. However, a complaint came in to the Board of Elections about where Gott actually resides. She and her husband own property in both New Hanover and Brunswick Counties.
As of Monday, no formal challenged had reached the New Hanover County Board of Elections office. The office in Brunswick County did not receive any formal challenges regarding Gott's husband.
Gott addressed the board and explained her residence is on Chestnut Street. Her voting record shows she has voted in New Hanover for years. Her husband votes in Brunswick County.
According to the county's board of elections office, the public has until Friday to submit a challenge. Anyone registered to vote in New Hanover County can make the challenge.
If no challenge is made, those registered in Gott's precinct will have to wait until election day to challenge her residency and it has to be in person, according to election officials.
The complaint that was filed with the board of elections is from a neighbor. We saw a copy of the complaint. It alleges that Gott's Chestnut Street residence is actually an office.
We found a request for a Special Use Permit to turn Gott's residence in downtown Wilmington into a "professional office" was approved by Wilmington city council in March of 2006. According to city documents, the city unanimously approved a plan to turn the 5,500 square foot into an office.
She says she uses the space as an office but also lives there with her family.
"It is a law office, but it is also a house, said Gott. "It's been my house longer than it's been my law office, when I got my special use permit - it restricts so that only certain rooms can be used as the law office, so they are used as a law office but it is also our home."
Gott's law firm is listed as sharing that same address on Chestnut.
At the meeting tonight, after a half hour discussion on the process, commissioners unanimously decided to send the nomination back to the county GOP to document Gott's actual residency.
The replacement commissioner will only serve until December.
We have called the head of New Hanover County's GOP; however, we haven't heard back from her yet to find out what they plan to do now.
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