01/15/07 — County will talk zoning next meeting

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County will talk zoning next meeting

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on January 15, 2007 1:52 PM

Wayne County officials are coming closer to approving the location of a new animal shelter, but construction plans can't move forward until the county's zoning ordinance allows the new building.

The county Board of Commissioners will listen to public comments Tuesday on adding a shelter to the ordinance's permitted uses during one of two public hearings.

The first hearing, both of which are scheduled for 9:15 a.m., concerns an amendment to allow pet services and an animal shelter on county-zoned property. During discussion concerning the county's efforts to find a location for the shelter last month, county planning director Connie Price told commissioners that the construction of a shelter is not a permitted use on county-zoned property.

The existing facility is in the city of Goldsboro's jurisdiction, and county officials had hoped that the next shelter would also be in the city limits. But Goldsboro City Council denied the county's request to rezone county-owned property located on the north side of Eighth Street between Humphrey Street and Wayne Memorial Drive in September after local property owners spoke out against the location. The property is located in the city limits.

County officials are in the final stages of approving property north of Goldsboro to serve as the location for the new shelter. The plans, which call for a 11,500-square-foot facility, and all site surveys should be completed by contractor Walter Vick and LSV Partnership Architects before the commissioners' meeting, County Manager Lee Smith said last week.

A change in the zoning ordinance would allow the county to build an animal shelter as a permitted use in the airport, light industry, heavy industry and community shopping zones.

But the change would not be limited to an animal shelter. Pet supply stores, pet grooming facilities and veterinarian offices would also be allowed as permitted uses in the same zones.

If all of the site preparation is completed and the commissioners announce the location, the county can bid out the project. The animal shelter's cost has been estimated at $1.2 million, but it could cost more or less after the bidding process. County officials are still hoping to begin initial construction on the facility this month.

The commissioners will also hear public comments concerning an amendment to the zoning ordinance to include the airport industry zone.

The airport industry zone would allow manufacturing, printing, communications, utilities, business services, construction, recreational activities, agriculture and many other uses.

The inclusion of the airport industry zone would allow Case Farms to expand its operations on land the company bought off of Pecan Road near Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

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

The land Case Farms purchased is divided into three separate governmental zones -- county light industry zone, a county airport zone and part of the city of Goldsboro's extraterritorial jurisdiction.

Although county officials want Case Farms to be able to expand, rezoning the company's property for heavy industry use would be considered encroachment by the Air Force.

The airport industry zone would allow the company to expand without impeding on the empty space near Seymour Johnson's runways.

Both public meetings are open to any resident and are held on the fourth floor of the county courthouse. All commissioners meetings start at 9 a.m. and are preceded by an 8 a.m. briefing session.