09/07/06 — Case Farms could get OK to expand

View Archive

Case Farms could get OK to expand

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on September 7, 2006 1:49 PM

A zoning dilemma that has hindered Case Farms from expanding its processing plant operation might have been solved by a rezoning being considered by the Wayne County Board of Commissioners.

The company had purchased a tract of land adjacent to its plant on Pecan Road several years ago in the hope of expanding. But the land is in the Accident Potential Zone that surrounds Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

Development in the zone is limited. County and Goldsboro officials have worked for years to prevent too much development near the base, fearing it could cause the Air Force to reconsider Seymour Johnson as a viable location for a base. Encroachment around military installations is a major factor in Pentagon decisions about which bases to maintain, expand or close.

Further complicating the issue was the fact that the land in question was also divided into three separate governmental zones: a county light industry zone, a county airport zone and part of the city of Goldsboro's extra territorial jurisdiction.

Rezoning the land to heavy industry use would be considered encroachment by the Air Force, county planners said.

But Connie Price, director of the county Planning Department, told commissioners at their meeting Tuesday that the creation of a new type of zone -- airport industrial -- would allow the company to proceed with its construction plans without threatening the amount of empty space around the base considered necessary by the Air Force for safe takeoffs and landings.

Representatives from Seymour Johnson, Case Farms, the county Development Alliance and the county met last month to come up with the plan, Price said. It was approved by the county Planning Board and forwarded to commissioners for final approval.

The last piece of the puzzle, County Manager Lee Smith said, is to request that the City Council convey some of the Case land that is contained the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction to the county, so that the rezoning can go forward.

A public hearing on the proposed amendment to the county zoning ordinance will be held Oct. 3 at 9:15 a.m. in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the courthouse. Any resident interested in speaking for or against the issue can speak directly to the commissioners during the hearing.