08/24/09 — County's parking lot rules revamped

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County's parking lot rules revamped

By Steve Herring
Published in News on August 24, 2009 1:59 PM

The new parking lot standards voted into existence by Wayne County commissioners were the second of two zoning ordinance changes being promoted as tools to ensure more orderly and attractive growth.

However, before enacting the rules, the board agreed to a change suggested by Commissioner Andy Anderson to help ensure the new regulations would not strangle new businesses, particularly small ones.

The first zoning ordinance change, approved last month, established standards for on-premise signs. Both changes apply only in areas the county has zoned.

The parking lot standards establish the minimum number of spaces for a variety of uses in zoned areas, require paving for uses that have 10 or more spaces and create a maximum size as well to prevent vast areas of pavement.

The rules, recommended by the Planning Board, do not apply to residential areas, schools and churches.

Prior to the vote, Anderson reminded his fellow board members that former commissioner Arnold Flowers had spoken against the proposal during a public hearing on Aug. 4.

Anderson said he shared Flowers' concerns that the standards could place an undue burden on small businesses and could mean the difference in a business being able to get off the ground.

Anderson broached the addition of a provision to make it easier to grant variances during the briefing session held prior to the meeting.

"It is a tough time now," he said. "I like to see what the board is doing not be set in concrete. We have to realize there will be times when variances are needed."

It is important, he said, to show the small businesses and startups that the county would work with them.

County Planning Director Connie Price said such a procedure should be spelled out and made clear and simple.

He noted that if commissioners adopted the ordinance before including the variance language that another public hearing would be required.

County attorney Borden Parker asked to be given some time that morning to come up with something and left the meeting. He returned shortly with the wording for the addition.

During the meeting, Commissioner Steve Keen made the motion to adopt the parking lot standards.

After Keen made his motion, Commissioner Sandra McCullen asked if that included the procedure for variances.

Keen agreed to amend his motion that was unanimously approved.

Parker told Anderson the variance procedure would be on the first page of the ordinance.

It reads that the board "may authorize a variance from these regulations when, its opinion, undue hardship my result from strict compliance... ."

It adds that no variance shall be granted unless commissioners find that:

"There are special circumstances or conditions affecting said property; such that the strict application of the provision of this ordinance would deprive the applicant of the reasonable use of his land and that the circumstances giving rise to the need for the variance are peculiar to the parcel and are not generally characteristic of other parcels in the jurisdiction."

In other business, commissioners approved application for a $252,349 Rural Operating Assistance Grant through the state Department of Commerce. Approval followed a brief public hearing during which no one spoke.

The money would be used on the rural side of the Goldsboro-Wayne Transpor-tation Authority's GATEWAY transit system.

It would help fund transportation of the elderly and disabled, people in the Work First, Workforce Develop-ment programs and general public employment transportation and for those who are not human service agency clients and live in non-urbanized areas.

The board agreed to rezone the property of Prentice Grady on Alert Cable Road at Dudley from Agriculture 20 to Village District. The Planning Board had recommended the request.

Grady intends to establish a flea market on the property.