03/06/11 — Rezoning gets first OK, but commissioners will vote again

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Rezoning gets first OK, but commissioners will vote again

By Steve Herring
Published in News on March 6, 2011 1:50 AM

Wayne County commissioners split 5-2 this week on approval of a petition to rezone approximately 10 acres in the Mar Mac community. A second reading and vote will be required since the vote was not unanimous.

Commissioners Jack Best and Andy Anderson, who have questioned approval since a Feb. 15 public hearing on the request, voted against the rezoning arguing that the county needs to first know what is going on the property.

However, county attorney Borden Parker told the board at its Tuesday meeting that once the land is rezoned, anything allowed by the zoning can be placed on the property regardless of what the board might have been told to start with.

John Harrell petitioned the county to rezone the land on the west side of Woodland Church Road near U.S. 13 in Brogden Township from Residential-Agriculture 20 to Village District.

The rezoning would allow the property to be used for residential or small commercial use. Commercial use is not currently permitted.

The rezoning was recommended by the county Planning Board. County Planner Connie Price told the board at its Feb.15 session that Harrell wanted the change "hoping" to make the property more attractive to a potential buyer.

Best and Anderson were unconvinced and worried that the move could set a dangerous precedent.

"I am all for a man selling his property and putting some businesses out there," Best said. "The only problem is rezoning before we find out what he is going to do. I have a problem with that."

He said control is lost if the county does not know what is going to be put on the property.

Anderson said he was concerned about losing control, what little the county has, of zoning.

"I appreciate what Mr. Harrell is trying to do," Anderson said. "That is commendable, but at the same time we discussed this a little bit last time, this type of request could proliferate out where we have a lot come up before us and we really lose control of what is going on."

With the Village District, the county likes to know what is going on the property and how it will affect the community, Anderson said. However, the county does not have any of that information, he said.

"I think it is setting the wrong trend of what we are trying to accomplish, so at this point in time, I just can't go along with it." he said.

The county does have some control over the zoning based on the uses that are allowed under the zones, Chairman J.D. Evans said.

But that does not mean the county has full control over what is built, the county attorney said.

"When you rezone, no matter what somebody comes up and tells you they are going to do when you rezone property, they can put whatever is allowed under that zone," Parker said.

Since the vote was not unanimous, Parker recommended that in "an overabundance of caution" that the board take a second vote at its March 15 session.

While it was not mentioned Tuesday, Best has said he is worried that the F-15E Strike Eagle fleet based at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base will eventually be replaced by the next generation of aircraft.

He said the county does not know what the noise level or flight patterns would be for the new aircraft.

Harrell's land is within the one-half mile extension of the base noise area, but is outside the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base noise levels and accident potential zone.

The county has received a letter from base officials saying that the request is compatible with the land use information in the Air Installation Compatible Use Zone Report and that they have no objection to rezoning.