09/06/06 — Ban on development near airport approved

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Ban on development near airport approved

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on September 6, 2006 1:52 PM

The Wayne County Board of Commissioners approved a six-month moratorium on development around the Goldsboro-Wayne Municipal Airport on Tuesday despite hearing from landowners who opposed the measure.

County Manager Lee Smith said county officials and the Airport's Authority have considered the moratorium for several months. A halt in development plans would give officials time to consider the growth proposed for land around the airport and how it would affect the airport's future, they said.

"We've invested in land and hangars, and we've done some investing in the past. If development has a negative impact on the airport, we might have to pay back state and federal money that was given to us," Smith said.

Over the airport's lifespan of 30 years, state and federal organizations have provided millions for improvements at the airport, Smith said. If development encroaches on the accident potential zone near the ends of the runway, the county could be forced to repay part of the money, he said.

Wayne Planning Director Connie Price said the southern boundary of the area included in the moratorium would be Stoney Creek Road and would extend north to Lancaster Road. It would contain about 2,200 acres of land.

Jeff Jennings told commissioners he has plans to build a 12-acre housing project within the airport zone. He said the development would help the airport, not harm it. He said his plans are to construct homes that could be used by pilots who use the airport and who would not mind the sound of planes landing and taking off.

Jennings also noted the addition tax revenue the development would generate.

Cities with larger airports have developed homes, apartments and even stadiums around airports, Gerald Brown said.

"They still manage to stay safe," he said.

Gary Whaley, an airport flight instructor, told commissioners that any hindering of development around the airport already happened several years ago when a person built a home near the end of the runway, and a moratorium can't fix something that has already happened.

"I oppose this, because a moratorium isn't going to help. There are people that own land around there, and they should have the right to do what they want with their land just as you should have the right to what you want with your land," Whaley said.

The commissioners approved the moratorium with only one dissenter, Commissioner Bud Gray.

Commissioner Andy Anderson said the board would keep an open mind about some development around the airport during the six-month moratorium, but it is important to allow the airport to grow because it is an economic development tool and it provides a service for the county.

Smith said he plans to discuss the issue with local municipalities. Pikeville and Goldsboro's extra territorial jurisdictions near the airport, and it is important for each entity to know each other's plans for future growth.

In other business, the commissioners also approved the sale of 10 acres of county property near the intersection of South Landfill Road and Durham Lake Road to a private company to permit the construction of a recycling center.

The county currently has 13 recycling centers and solid waste disposal sites. Smith said creating another site near the county landfill would reduce gasoline costs for both residents and the county. It would also provide another convenience center closer to Goldsboro and Mount Olive residents, he added.

At a public hearing, several neighbors opposed the sale. They said they were concerned that roadside trash in their neighborhood would increase. Many said uncovered truckloads of waste taken to the landfill leave waste beside the highways. They also complained about an increase in traffic.

"Adding this is another bite into our community, and I would like to see (a recycling center) somewhere else," Anita Whitfield said.

The board unanimously approved conveying the 10-acre lot to Bryant's Recycling Inc. The company is expected to provide a $1.5 million investment for the center and create between 20 and 30 new jobs once it is completed.