06/09/04 — Noise issue stumps planning board

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Noise issue stumps planning board

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on June 9, 2004 2:04 PM

Should developers be required to use noise-dampening materials in new homes in high-noise areas near Seymour Johnson?

That question flummoxed the Wayne County Planning Board on Tuesday night. The board was working on a revision of zoning and building rules around the Air Force base.

Ultimately, the Planning Board recessed until Thursday night. It could vote to approve a new proposal to send to the county commissioners. If not, the board is likely to act at its July 13 meeting.

The commissioners plan to hold a hearing before adopting any changes in zoning. The proposal would affect around 27 square miles around the base and its flightlines.

The Planning Board members seemed generally in agreement with most of the changes that the commissioners requested. These include:

*Allowing mobile home park owners to replace homes as tenants leave, as long as the replacements meet a still-to-be-set minimum standard.

*Giving people who own mobile homes on private lots the same right to replace their homes.

*Allowing churches and other places of worship the right to be built or expand without having to comply with noise-reduction standards.

The board is also likely to recommend that single-family homes and mobile homes be allowed as a special-use in the "light industry" zone. That would permit some landowners in areas with the highest potential for accidents to continue to cut out lots for children or relatives to build but would prevent subdivisions , Planning Director Connie Price said.

The Planning Board could not resolve the question of whether to require noise-dampening materials.

The original proposal included a list of materials that developers could use to cut outside noise from entering homes, including thicker glass in windows, solid-core doors and denser insulation in walls.

But the revised rules simply require developers to reduce the average noise level inside homes to 40 decibels or less. An engineer would review plans to certify that they meet the new standard.

County Attorney Borden Parker told the board that the county might not have the legal right to mandate the use of building materials that are more expensive than the building code. It's safer to set the noise-reduction standards and allow developers figure out how to meet it, he said.

But some audience members questioned if that was practical.

Joe Daughtery has talked with two engineers who would refuse to sign off on plans because of the inexact nature of home-building, he said. If the finished homes were louder than designed, the engineer who approved the plans could lose his license.

"Basically, you're going to prohibit construction in this area," Daughtery said.

He and another audience member proposed doing away with all references to noise reduction and focus instead on limiting the density of housing in the high-noise areas.

The Planning Board agreed to meet again Thursday night to discuss the issue.

Other business

Also Tuesday, the Planning Board reviewed four subdivision plans.

Marion Pointe, a 15-lot neighborhood off Wood Peck Road, received final approval. The developer, Wilson Grading LLC, had been delayed for more than six months by the moratorium. The commissioners granted it an exemption last week from the extension.

The board gave preliminary approval to Bridge Landing, a 12-lot development on Capps Bridge Road, and to Goose Creek, a 174-lot subdivision at the corner of Rose and Nor-Am roads. A final plan was approved for lots 6-19 in Goose Creek.

The board's meeting Thursday will be open to the public. It will begin at 6 p.m. in the Parker Boardroom, County Administration Building, 209 S. William St., Goldsboro.