05/18/04 — Opponents speak out against Goldsboro zoning requests

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Opponents speak out against Goldsboro zoning requests

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on May 18, 2004 2:02 PM

Opponents of two zoning requests -- one on Patetown Road and one on Salem Church Road -- spoke out Monday at Goldsboro City Council hearings.

Residents of the newly annexed area protested the Salem Church Road request, saying it would add more traffic to a road that is already congested and dangerous.

And residents along Patetown Road opposed a request to change a residential zone to allow a business. They feared it would reduce property values and increase traffic.

Lane Farms and Howell properties requested that the city zone property on the east side of Salem Church Road between Stoney Hill Road and Fedelon Trail.

The property was annexed voluntarily two years ago, but has remained unzoned by the city. Though the current proposal is to zone it low-density residential, the council expects that commercial development will eventually be in that area.

Residents of the newly annexed area north of the city opposed the zoning, but said they didn't believe the city listened to the people.

"I will always feel this has been underhanded," said Janet Mozingo. "You asked us what we thought about the annexation, and we had 469 people sign a petition against it."

Yet, she said, it made no difference to five of the seven council members.

"Why do you even ask us what we think?" she asked. "You already know what you want to do."

Mrs. Mozingo said that she had prayed that "God will take hold of this."

"I pray that the right people, willing to do the right thing, will be put in place," she said.

Her daughter-in-law, Sharon Mozingo, said she had a rough estimate from the Planning Department that another 100 houses could be put out in the area after it was zoned.

"The roads can't handle another 100 houses," she said. "I just don't know if it will be safe. No subdivisions -- not until the roads are improved."

The roads in the area are state maintained. During a council work session Monday, City Manager Richard Slozak said that the proposed residential zoning would probably not be the way the property would ultimately be zoned.

"Later on, the property owner could ask for general business or neighborhood business," Slozak said.

The council also discussed a request by Bill Burnette to put a moratorium on development in the area, citing traffic concerns as an issue that needed to be addressed.

Slozak offered to have the city attorney research moratoriums, but the council said it wasn't necessary.

"I don't want a moratorium on development," said Councilman Chuck Allen.

City Planning Director Randy Guthrie said the population density in the area wasn't high enough to qualify for a state traffic study.

Slozak said he knew people were opposing the zoning, but said the area was unprotected with no zoning in place. The county had zoned the area, but after the city annexed it in 2000, that zoning was no longer in effect.

"The whole understanding of annexing that area was that we were going to zone," Allen said.

Patetown Road rezoning

Grady Construction Co. requested that one acre on the east side of Patetown Road between Catherine Street and Tommy's Road be rezoned from residential to "office and institutional."

But residents said they wanted no change in the zoning.

At least three protest petitions have been signed by nearby property owners, so it will take six of the seven council members to approve the request.

Property owner James E. Grantham said he was opposed, because it would hurt the value of homes in the area and damage the neighborhoods.

"When the city annexed our subdivision, one of the benefits was going to be zoning restrictions in the area," Grantham said. "I want to see that benefit now."

Roy Batten also said the city promised zoning restrictions to help the area remain residential.

"I remember the exact words, which were that by doing this, it would protect homes from putting in a store," Batten said.

Bill Grantham, representing the United Christ Church, said the church members were respectfully protesting the zoning change.

"It could open the door for undesirable development," he said. "We feel if the property is kept residential, it probably will create a better tax base."

Philip Sexton, vice president of Grady Construction, said the company's intention was not to devalue the land.

"We want to construct an office building, including our construction office," he said. "It won't be an eyesore."

But Ronald Kearney believed opening the door by reclassifying the area could cause problems later.

"The property could change hands two or three times," he said, "and eventually a non-family business could be located there."

Ken Whaley was concerned about increased traffic, because he said the area already had a traffic problem.

He also asked the council if rezoning the area would affect taxes. The council is scheduled to vote on it in June.