Request to rezone entire Busco Beach property on agenda
By Matt Caulder
Published in News on July 28, 2013 1:50 AM
The Goldsboro Planning Commission is meeting in the city council chambers Monday night to discuss two issues, the re-zoning of Busco Beach & ATV Park properties and the allowance of a conditional use permit for a boarding house on Edgerton Street.
The commission will meet at 7 p.m. to decide on recommendations for the City Council's Aug. 5 meeting.
Current Busco Beach owner Jimmy Pierce is asking to have the entire property, almost 680 acres, owned by Smart Investors, LLC and private lands leased to Smart Investors, zoned as a General Business Special Use District.
No zoning changes have been made since the original 246 acres were approved as use for a recreational lake facility and related amenities in June of 1994.
The issue came before the Planning Commission after a lively public hearing on the rezoning at the June 17 City Council meeting.
Bryan Boulevard resident Yvonne Stanley spoke about how the park has changed since it was originally approved in 1994, and said that before any action is taken to approve new construction or rezoning, studies should be done on the impact to the wildlife in the area and the effect the park has had on the air quality and the Neuse River, which runs along the border of the park.
Ms. Stanley also said the facility now runs 24 hours a day in contrast to the 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. schedule under which it opened.
At the meeting, Ms. Stanley said she reported suspected violations at the park to a myriad of state and federal agencies, which got involved in early 2012.
After a letter was sent to the city from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety outlining violations at the park, Goldsboro officials became involved to bring the park in line with the various regulations applicable to the use and structures on the property including violations of the city's Floodplain Management Plan.
Violations included buildings erected without "no rise" certifications to show the structures would not raise the floodplain; campers on the property, which is entirely in a floodplain, for more than 180 days; truckloads of fill sediment were brought to the property and grading was done without approval; and fencing on a county-owned parcel of land that was leased by Busco Beach.
A cease and desist order was given on all construction on the property in Feb. 2012.
The order is in effect until all regulations are met and documentation is given to prove that the standards have been met.
Since that time, the Department of Park Safety notified the city in a February 2013 letter that the structures currently on the property meet Federal Emergency Management Agency "no rise" certification standards, but that any future proposed structures would have to go through the same verification process before they can be built.
Goldsboro planning Director Randy Guthrie said that usually a decision is only deferred by the Planning Commission if more information is needed and is only deferred once.
Guthrie said he believes a large part of the rezoning discussion will be devoted to conditions to go along with the rezoning to allay some of the residents of the area's concerns with the operation of the facility including the noise levels and dust in the air from the park.
Also up for discussion at the planing commission meeting will be a recommendation to approve a request for a conditional use permit for a boarding house at 1606 Edgerton Street.
Boarding houses are allowed by the city but they must meet certain qualifications and have obtained a conditional use permit.
Of the necessary qualifications, the boarding house in question does not meet the standard minimum living space of 200 square feet per room for residents in five of its six bedrooms.
Also the property is required to have six paved parking spaces, and while there is ample room in the back of the property for a parking lot, the applicants requested the number of required parking spaces be reduced to none.
The owners of the house, as well as area residents spoke on both sides of the issue.
In conditional use permit public hearings those wishing to speak must be sworn in.
The building has already been operating as a boarding house, so approval would legitimize the operation and outline regulations.
Lee Davis, an area resident, spoke out against the approval of the boarding house, citing past incidents that he felt spoke to the type of people living in the house -- a concern he said because of the number of children nearby with the Boys and Girls Club on Royall Avenue and St. Mary Catholic School on the corner of Edgerton and Jefferson Streets.
"We need to turn this area into a school zone, not a war zone," said Davis.
The owners of the house explained that they were not aware the woman they were renting it to was using it as a boarding house until January 2013.
They said they took over and began regulating the renters through a tighter approval system, evicting a felon renting from them and turning down other felons applying for rooms.
"We didn't have the heart to throw these people out," said Donna Gainey of the renters who were not felons.