01/20/04 — 'Zoning' is bad word in Faison

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'Zoning' is bad word in Faison

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on January 20, 2004 2:02 PM

FAISON -- Say the word "zoning" in Faison, and people get nervous.

The Faison town board tried to calm residents' concerns about zoning Monday night during a public hearing at the fire station. More than 100 people showed up, and chairs had to be brought into the fire truck bay.

The Planning Board started updating the town's 30-year-old zoning ordinance last spring and finished two new maps, which hung on the walls in the fire station.

Faison Mayor Bill Igoe said the town is merely updating and upgrading the maps and the ordinance. "Basically, there are very few changes," he said.

The central business district and the commercial district on the new map used to be all one.

Mobile homes that are already in a part of town that will be rezoned from R-20 to R-6 and can stay. They're "grandfathered in" for now, but they can't be replaced.

For example, no new mobile homes can go into the historic district.

The R-20 areas are mostly outside the town limits. They have to be larger, because they normally don't have access to water and sewer. They need more space for the wells and septic systems.

The R-6 lots can be smaller, because they're already receiving water and sewer service.

The word "annexation" is not in the story, said Igoe. "The town does not have a desire to go out and start annexing, unless it's requested."

"No thanks!" said someone in the audience, drawing laughter.

If someone wants to build anything more than a dog house on their property, they have to get a permit, said Igoe.

Then, he said, he'll receive a list of the allowed uses for that section of the town's jurisdiction.

Anything that's not a conforming use that is already in place stays, he said.

People can have businesses in their homes, according to the new zoning ordinance. The business can't occupy more than 25 percent of the total floor space, and the business can't employ more than one person who isn't living there. No window displays will be allowed.

The only plans the town has to annex will eventually happen at the Interstate 40 interchange. That area will develop one day, he said, and the developers will want water and sewer service.

"That will have to be annexed," said Igoe. "We'll have to get some tax money out of them."

He told the crowd the purpose of zoning is to protect their property, "to keep someone from moving next door and doing something undesirable."

To a woman who was concerned about restrictions keeping her from changing her property, he said, "You're not going to put a slaughter house on there, are you?"

The town had sent out 700 letters to property owners, to people who live in town, outside the town limits inside the extraterritorial jurisdiction and those who own property next to those in the town's jurisdiction. The ETJ is a one-mile area around the town limits.

The ETJ will follow property lines now, instead of roads like the old map. The old map was splitting property lines, because the people who drew it didn't know where the property lines were, said Melba Laney, a planner with the state Department of Commerce.

"The area is already zoned now," she said. "There are no new restrictions."

The town's zoning enforcement officer is Richard Cameron, the public works director.

The zoning changes will not be effective until the town board votes to adopt the ordinance, said Igoe.

"When?" someone asked.

"When we can satisfy all you people," he said.