06/05/08 — Building height near airports restricted

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Building height near airports restricted

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 5, 2008 1:46 PM

Zoning changes in the areas surrounding Wayne County's two airports and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base were unanimously approved by the Wayne County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.

A portion of the proposal that would have made additional zoning changes around the Mount Olive Airport was deleted by commissioners.

The board's action rezoned 5,272 acres north of the Goldsboro-Wayne Municipal Airport, 81,335 acres surrounding Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and 8,702 acres surrounding the Mount Olive Airport.

The changes limit the height of structures built in the areas based on the elevation of the respective airfield.

The highest points of the airports' useable landing area measured in feet above sea level are Goldsboro-Wayne, 134 feet; Mount Olive, 168 feet; and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, 109 feet.

The changes also added an outer zone around the air base extending 45,000 feet from the ends and sides of the runway. The height limit in that area is 500 feet.

Existing city and county zoning closer to the base already is more restrictive. For example, residential zoning limits structures to no more than 35 feet.

The area around the Goldsboro-Wayne Airport had been a glide slope with varying height restriction. That designation was changed to an outer horizontal area in which the maximum height now allowed is 500 feet above the runway elevation.

At Mount Olive, the change sets height limits based on a structure's distance from the runway.

Only one person spoke during a public hearing last month on the proposal. Laura Rachel Rouse of Mount Olive told commissioners that her family's farms and homes are located near the Mount Olive Airport. She expressed concern that zoning changes could have an adverse impact on how it could be used.

The part of the proposal deleted by the board would have rezoned approximately 372 acres from airport to light industry; established a light industry zone of about 45 acres; and established an airport zone of about 173 acres.

County Manager Lee Smith recommended the deletion of that portion of the zoning amendment based on comments from people in the area near the airport.

Smith said he did not think that removing the section would have any impact on the overall zoning amendment.

In response to questions from commissioners, Smith said Mount Olive currently does not have zoning around the airport. He said that could change as Mount Olive grows northward towards the airport.

Commissioner Andy Ander-son suggested removing the section just for the purpose of the vote and then ask the county planning department to talk with Mount Olive officials.

"Mount Olive is aware of this and has not chimed in," Smith said. "I think we are doing all of the right things."

Commissioner J.D. Evans said he recently attended a Mount Olive Airport Authority meeting and nothing had been said about the rezoning.

Smith called it "a non-issue for now." Later, it (zoning) might become a Mount Olive issue, he added.