08/04/04 — County establishes farm districts to warn land buyers

View Archive

County establishes farm districts to warn land buyers

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on August 4, 2004 2:00 PM

The Wayne County commissioners approved an ordinance Tuesday that allows owners of agricultural land to petition to place their land in agricultural districts.

The Voluntary Agricultural District Ordinance outlines the revised program that has been developed since last summer and is designed to help prevent conflicts between farmers and their neighbors.

The commissioners will first establish an advisory board to implement the program. The initial agriculture districts will be at least 100 acres, either contiguous or in three or more tracts within a half mile of each other. Smaller farms near these first districts could then be added.

Farmers can apply to the advisory board to place their land in agricultural districts. To qualify, farmland must be identified as agricultural by the county Tax Department, must be actively farmed over the past five years, and must abide by erosion-control practices.

Farmers would pay a small fee to have their land marked with road signs and included on maps in the county's deeds, planning and tax offices.

The commissioners will also set a fee for joining a district.

Landowners can pull out of the district by writing a letter to the advisory board. The designation will not affect property taxes. Any developer building a neighborhood within a quarter mile of the districts would be required to note the districts' presence on his plans.

The program's goal is to ensure that people who buy property or homes in Wayne County are not surprised to find out about the nearby turkey houses, hog farms or timberland.

Car sales added

The commissioners also passed a proposed amendment to the zoning ordinance to add automobile sales as a special use in the Airport Zone. It was recommended by the county's Planning Board, and there were no comments at a public hearing held by the commissioners on July 6.

There had previously been a car lot on U.S. 117 North near the end of the runway at the Goldsboro-Wayne Airport, but it was operated illegally, according to Connie Price, planning director.

It closed down on its own after a few years. Another person recently said he wanted to open another car lot on the property but found out that it was not allowed in the airport zone. The county Planning Board felt that it should be a special use, added Price.

The applicant will now have to go to the Board of Adjustment and apply for a special-use permit. The board will ask about the car lots hours of operation, how many employees will be on site, if there will be any additional lighting. The board will then either approve or deny the permit, he said.

Runway extension OK

The commissioners also approved a request from the Mount Olive Airport Committee to lengthen the airport's runway from 3,700 feet to 5,000 feet.

The Federal Aviation Administration has been encouraging all N.C. airports to have runways at least this long as a safety measure. It will also allow larger corporate jets to land.

The federal government awarded the town of Mount Olive almost $335,000 in additional grant money to extend the runway.

Now that the committee has received approval, the next step will be to begin the bidding process. Plans are to begin construction before winter.

There has been some concern that new instrument approaches at the airport would affect the mission at Seymour Johnson.

Jimmie Edmundson with the Military Affairs Commission submitted a letter to Commissioner Atlas Price asking that if the Airport Authority wishes to have additional precision landing systems that the plans be cleared through Brig. Gen. Rick Rosborg, 4th Fighter Wing commander.

The commissioners accepted the request of the runway extension with the stipulation that it notify the base and the Military Affairs Commission if it decides to have an instrument approach in the future.