01/22/04 — County zoning to expand

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County zoning to expand

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on January 22, 2004 2:04 PM

The Wayne County Board of Commissioners plans to zone more land this year, particularly around Seymour Johnson Air Force Base's flight paths.

The commissioners held an all-day workshop Wednesday at the Goldsboro Country Club. They reviewed all county departments' 2003 achievements and their 2004 plans.

While the session covered topics A-Z, the commissioners knew that it'd be the "Z" that would get the public's attention.

"I would hope the media could get the word out that the commissioners don't have a desire to zone land," Andy Anderson said. "But we've gotten to a point where zoning is essential."

Currently, about half the county is zoned or has some other restriction on how it is developed. Cities and towns zone property within their borders and up to two miles outside. The county has zoned land around the base, under flight paths, around Goldsboro-Wayne Airport and Mount Olive Airport, and near schools.

But a study commissioned by the Seymour Support Council is pushing the commissioners to zone even more land in eastern Wayne County.

The Kimley-Horn study found that both the county and Goldsboro are allowing development near the base and under its flight paths that could both endanger residents and cause conflict with Air Force training.

Such development could hurt Seymour Johnson during its Base Realignment and Closure review next year. The commissioners decided in December to halt all new subdivisions and mobile home parks around the base for at least six months.

The Wayne County Planning Board is studying a proposal to extend zoning a half-mile out from the currently zoned property under the flight paths. The county is likely to limit development to two or fewer houses per acre.

Also, the county may enact a tougher building code that would require builders to add noise-reducing materials.

The commissioners seemed to concede Wednesday that more zoning would be required.

But how far should the county go? wondered Commissioner Arnold Flowers. Whatever's done at Seymour Johnson should be duplicated at the two other airports, he said.

If the county was to designate all subdivisions and properties with existing homes as residential and all farms as agricultural, how much of Wayne County would even be left? he asked.

The county needs to act to limit conflict caused by rapid growth and density, Anderson said. Zoning would allow some control over development, he added.

Commissioner Atlas Price said zoning is misunderstood. It can help land owners protect what is theirs.

"A lot of people would be better off with zoning than they think they would," he said.