09/21/08 — Mount Olive applies new university zoning to MOC

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Mount Olive applies new university zoning to MOC

By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 21, 2008 7:27 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- A new planning zone approved for the first time Monday night will help with the "explosive growth" expected at Mount Olive College, Mayor Ray McDonald Sr. said.

The town board unanimously agreed to rezone 19 properties owned by the college, about 160 acres, to the new University/College District. The properties had been zoned as either residential, industrial or office/institutional.

No one spoke at the brief public hearing held prior to the board's vote.

Mount Olive Planning Board Chairman Gena Knode said her board recommended the change.

"This zone was created several months ago," she said.

She said the new zone meant that every time the college decided to build something that it would not have to seek rezoning.

"This just means they don't have to go through the same (rezoning) process every time," McDonald said. "Mount Olive College is ready to explode in growth, and the college is a big asset to the town."

As approved, the town inspector still has a say on the number of parking spaces associated with new buildings.

Inspector Danny Keel told commissioners the number depends on the building's occupancy.

"It (new zoning) just simplifies things," Town Manager Charles Brown said. "Right now, they have got about three different zones out there. When they come to ask for a permit, say to build a dorm for example, where it sits on may be in R10 or R20 or O&I and it is whole different set of issues approving that dorm.

"Now it is in a UC zone so when they come to us and ask to construct a dorm on campus it is pretty straight forward. The zoning officer can approve or not approve it. It takes a lot of obstacles out of their way and makes our zoning officer's job easier, too."

Brown said it also cuts down on the time and expense associated with rezoning property.