11/09/07 — Sales tax might be on next agenda

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Sales tax might be on next agenda

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on November 9, 2007 2:09 PM

With 26 counties holding referendums Tuesday on one of two local taxing options, the Wayne County Board of Commissioners originally planned to spend much of its meeting discussing if and when it might put its own quarter-cent sales tax on the ballot.

But because county Manager Lee Smith was absent due to illness, that debate was put on hold.

Also postponed was a continuation of the commissioners' discussion about the Wayne County Comprehensive Plan and their immediate priorities. The discussion was to be held as part of Smith's and the rest of the county staff's early preparations on the 2008-09 budget.

The commissioners also held off making any decision on Jack Smith's rezoning request for his 11-acre plot in Fork Township near Rosewood.

The request was to change the land's zoning from residential agriculture to community shopping, which is a commercial designation.

Owner Jack Smith explained that his goal was to enhance the property's value by asking that a wider variety of uses be allowed on it. He currently has no plans for the property.

"It looked to me like the land would be worth more to me, to my heirs and even to the county if you had more options," he said. "To me, it looked like a plan with no minuses."

He even agreed to the planning board's recommendation, which was slightly different.

Because of the existing residential land uses around the plot, it recommended that Smith's 11 acres be zoned village, which allows for both limited residential and limited commercial use. It also recommended that the 8.4 acres adjoining Smith's land, and across from new Rosewood Wal-Mart, be rezoned community shopping.

The reason for the difference, explained county planning officer Chip Crumpler, was because the smaller lot fronts U.S. 70, already has a piece of community shopping within it and will be separated from Smith's property by a service road that the state Department of Transportation plans to build in 2013.

But because of concerns by the commissioners that there might not be a way to control driveway access from those properties onto U.S. 70 or N.C. 581 if they're rezoned, they decided to deliberate for a while longer.

"We need to be very cautious about what we do," Commissioner Atlas Price said.

And in keeping with that same cautious attitude, the commissioners continued to decline to act on the rezoning request by Tom Best (of Best Sand & Gravel) for permission to build a construction and debris landfill off of Pecan Road.

It's a request that he's brought before the planning board for several years now -- most recently in October when it was passed onto the commissioners, contingent upon the inclusion of a conditional use permit.

The commissioners, though, decided not to set a public hearing at their Oct. 16 meeting. On Tuesday, Best asked that they do so.

He explained that he understood and would address the concerns of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base -- the site would be within its accident potential zone -- that any resulting standing water could attract birds.

However, county attorney Borden Parker said that with the county manager still in the process of gathering information regarding the proposal, Best's request would likely not appear as a formal agenda item until at least the next meeting.