01/18/05 — Council may soon be ready to present new zoning ordinance to public

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Council may soon be ready to present new zoning ordinance to public

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on January 18, 2005 2:01 PM

After years of discussion, the Goldsboro City Council will soon be ready to hear comments from the public about the proposed zoning ordinance.

The ordinance has hovered at the completion stage several times over the past two years, but has never received final approval.

City Planning Director Randy Guthrie said that a public information meeting is scheduled for Jan. 27 at 10 a.m. in Council Chambers. The staff will explain and clarify portions of the ordinance, as necessary.

Five years ago the council hired Parsons Inc. from Richmond, Va., to streamline the ordinance and to recommend ways to implement the land-use plan.

John Marling, a senior planner with Parsons, compared Goldsboro to five other cities of similar size and looked at what was successful there. He also interviewed representatives of local agencies and city officials.

The firm put together a new document called a "unified development ordinance," designed to eliminate the city's previous piecemeal approach to zoning and make it easier for council review. The city paid the consultants more than $100,000 to put the ordinance together.

In 2003, the document was handed over to the council for review. For four months the council held weekly work sessions, reviewing the proposed ordinance page by page. The council came up with a variety of questions about the 231-page document, which they forwarded to the consultants via the city's planning director.

After the former planning director retired in December 2003, the document was put on hold for another few months.

Last spring the council reviewed the remaining portions of the ordinance, and the new planning director was directed to make additional changes. The changes were supposed to be ready for the council's review by the end of June, but they weren't.

Instead, the council received the ordinance in October to review.

Now the council has had three months to review the completed documented, and offer suggestions to the planning department. Guthrie recently sent a copy of the ordinance to planning commission members and members of the development community and asked for their input.

The city plans to hold a second public hearing on the zoning ordinance on Feb. 21.