11/14/07 — County planners ponder airport height restrictions

View Archive

County planners ponder airport height restrictions

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on November 14, 2007 1:55 PM

With two airports in Wayne County and an eye always focused on protecting Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, the county Planning Board discussed possible new height restrictions around all three airfields Tuesday night.

County Planning Director Connie Price explained that the proposal would establish a new airport height overlay zone that would likely prohibit structures taller than 500 feet.

"In some sections it might be less than that, but it would not be any higher than that," he said.

Such a zone is already in place around the Goldsboro-Wayne Municipal Airport and extends out about two miles. That action was taken earlier this year.

If the planning board, which took no votes Tuesday, decides in December to approve such zoning, a similar radius would be extended around the Mount Olive Airport, while for Seymour Johnson, it would likely be seven miles.

Price explained that the municipal airports' zones would likely be smaller because "they do not have the same types of aircraft."

He also explained that there currently is already a more restrictive zone around the base and that those requirements would not change.

Extending out about two miles on the south side and four to five miles on the east and west sides, the existing zoning allows nothing to be built over 35 feet tall. The north end of the base is in Goldsboro, which has its own zoning regulations.

Price noted, though, that while new rules would extend out further, they're not likely to hinder development.

"In most cases, the height it allows is not a big deal," he said. "What it would prohibit would be tall towers like T.V. towers. Somebody trying to put up a house or even a regular cell tower (usually about 200 feet) would still be able to. About 99 percent of the things that are going to be built are going to be less than that anyway."

He explained that the proposal is being motivated by a land use study that was done by the Mount Olive Airport and the requests of Seymour Johnson.

"We're just trying to follow them and update our zoning map," he said. "It's not something (the planning board) has asked for, but it's in line with what we've been doing."