Removing Busco Beach from the city of Goldsboro's extra territorial jurisdiction will not make much of a difference to the county, Wayne County Commission Chairman Bill Pate said.
Among other things, removing the property from the extra territorial jurisdiction, or ETJ, would eliminate the city's conditional-use restriction that prohibits the use of ATVs and other sport vehicles after 11 p.m.
The county may revisit its noise ordinance to ensure the decibel level addresses noise levels in that area.
There is currently no county zoning in the area, and the county's policy is to zone only in areas around schools.
"It is hard to speak for the whole group (commission), but I am not so sure that we are going to be looking at doing any zoning," Pate said. "We want to make sure that it is safe out there, and we are addressing the noise issue as well."
Pate said he has not been to the Busco Beach area, but understands there might be some structures that are not supposed to be there.
Some of the land around the park was bought out by the Federal Emergency Management Agency following Hurricane Floyd and subsequent flooding in 1999. The county owns some of the property, and the city owns other parcels.
Permanent structures are prohibited on FEMA buyout property.
"Our inspections department will have to go out there and address those problems," Pate said. "We will do like what we are supposed to be doing under the law, our ordinances, and we will address it."
The ETJ did not cover all of the property, which is a large area, Pate said.
Currently, the 678-acre park, campground and recreational area is within the city of Goldsboro's extra-territorial jurisdiction, which allows the city to enforce zoning regulations. The city extended its ETJ to cover 246 acres at the man-made beach in 1994, and added another 432 acres in 2013, that expanded the property's use as a recreational area for motorsports, ATVs, racetracks and mudruns.
The park is well-liked by many, and people come from out of state to ride out there, Pate said.
While the park is popular with ATV enthusiasts, it has been a sore spot for the city and county for years.
Yvonne Stanley, who lives near the park, has attended the commissioners' past three meetings to complain about the noise, dust and other issues associated with the park.
Commissioners have listened, but have taken no action.
"My personal opinion is kind of like this, he is the owner of the property out there and he is responsible," Pate said. "So we are not necessarily going to be able to catch anyone who rides after 11 o'clock."
If noise levels are up perhaps the approach is to look to the property owner to be responsible and find ways to pressure him to keep the noise level down, Pate sad.
"We have not made a decision on what we are going to do yet," he said.
The city has scheduled a public hearing for Monday on the proposal and could act as soon as the hearing is completed, County Manager George Wood told commissioners during their Tuesday session.
An ETJ is a power given to municipalities by the state legislature that allows them to do three things outside their city limits, Wood said.
"They can exercise that up to one mile, but they are not required to," he said. "They can determine if they want to do less than the full one mile."
The first power is the control of subdivision, Wood said. The city would approve subdivision plats.
Historically the state has allowed cities to take as much as they could in the ETJs so that they could control the area and its development and then annex it, County Attorney Borden Parker said.
However, the area in question is mostly in the flood plain so that probably will not come into play, Wood said.
"But if it did now, then you would be the one to approve subdivisions," he said.
The second power is that the city is allowed to implement its zoning ordinances in the area.
"That is the one that has the most impact on Busco because they have given Busco Beach a conditional use permit that had some conditions in it that they had to meet, such as a curfew," Wood said.
Thirdly, the ETJ allows the city to enforce the state building, fire, mechanical, plumbing and electrical codes, he said.
"So all of that will now be transferred over to our inspections department because, in the absence of them exercising the ETJ, then that property is under the jurisdiction of the county," Wood said.
It is not that the county is taking it over, the city is getting out of it, Parker said.
"Basically, if it is profitable for them they want to keep it, but if it is not ...," Commissioner Wayne Aycock said.
It is not the first time the city has exempted land from the ETJ, County Planner Chip Crumpler. A small area near a commercial park was exempted in the early 2000s for that development to take place, he said.