04/15/09 — Residents can look at zoning authority proposal

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Residents can look at zoning authority proposal

By Steve Herring
Published in News on April 15, 2009 1:46 PM

The public will have the opportunity later this month to ask questions and to offer comments about the county Planning Board's proposal to expand its zoning authority into 14 areas around the county starting with U.S. 70 West and the Rosewood community.

The board Tuesday night authorized Planning Director Connie Price to proceed with scheduling the public meeting for Thursday, April 30, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Whitley Church, 188 Whitley Church Road, just off U.S. 70 West.

During Tuesday's meeting members sought to assuage any concerns that the Rosewood area was being targeted since it is the first on the list.

It was selected, Price said, simply because of the growth along the U.S. 70 corridor and the planned U.S. 70 Bypass.

"I just had to start somewhere," Price said.

Price first broached the zoning proposal at the board's March meeting. Board members at that meeting tabled the issue to allow them more time to study it.

At that meeting, Price said the selection of the Rosewood community had nothing to do with a controversial proposal by Goldsboro developer John Bell, not the county commissioner, to build a low-rent housing project there.

The potential zoning area in question begins at the western edge of the city's one-mile extraterritorial jurisdiction boundary and follows U.S. 70 to the Johnston County line. It is bordered on the north by the Little River and to the south by the railroad tracks.

Price said color-coded zoning maps would be available at the public meeting. People will be able to locate their properties, ask questions and offer suggestions, he said.

Price said he also would explain what the zoning means.

Information from the meeting will be compiled and reported to the Planning Board.

The Planning Board at its May meeting could say "no thanks" and let the proposal die or make a recommendation to county commissioners who would then schedule a public hearing.

Following the hearing, commissioners could approve the proposal, let it die or send it back to the Planning Board for more work. Commissioners could hold work sessions on the proposals.

As originally proposed, the Planning Board would have considered each of the 14 areas separately, taking about a year and a half to complete the circuit around the county.

However, in response to board members' questions on Tuesday, Price said the areas could be combined, thereby slicing the timeline in half. The process would take about one month per combined area, Price said.

The procedure for each area would be the same as the one proposed for the Rosewood community, he said.

The other areas are Wayne Memorial Drive at the new U.S. 70 Bypass interchange and Stoney Creek; Falling Brook, Vail Road and western Wayne; Oakland and Old Smithfield Road; Old Grantham Road and Durham Lake Road; Southern Wayne Country Club and Robin Lake; and Dollard Town Road and U.S. 70/Beston Road.

Price said he had reviewed the county's Comprehensive Plan and Growth Strategy Map to determine the areas that met the criteria for zoning to be established or amended.

The primary consideration is that the areas be in the urban or urban transition areas -- areas that within the next several years will become more urban in appearance.

Other considerations, he said, include population density, roads (existing and proposed) water and sewer lines and proximity to existing services.

Board members had few comments about the proposal.

However, Chairman Chris Cox wanted to know how much of the area falls into the Municipal Planing Organizations area. The MPO is charged with long-range transportation planning.

Earlier in their meeting, board members voiced frustration that the MPO does not communicate its plans or intentions to them.

Price said that most of the area, possibly up to three-fourths, was inside the MPO area. The only road being planned in the area is the U.S. 70 Bypass, he said.