Craven County officials heard comments Monday, all positive, on a proposed tall structures ordinance for the county.
It is aimed primarily at giving proactive consideration of where to put tall wind energy and communications structures that could interfere with military and civilian aircraft transmissions and mar the beauty of the county.
While no one from Cherry Point air station or Coastal Carolina Regional Airport spoke at Monday’s hearing, representatives from both facilities were consulted and an effort to contact cell and satellite companies was made while preparing the draft ordinance.
Scott Dacey, Craven County Board of Commissioners chairman, said further efforts will be made to contact cell and satellite company representatives before the ordinance, which did not receive a unanimous vote Monday, is considered again. It must have a unanimous vote, then a subsequent favorable vote to become a county ordinance.
Commissioner Theron McCabe was away attending the National Association of Boards of County Commissioners and Commissioner Johnnie Sampson said he voted against the draft ordinance because he thought the full board should be present.
Landon Holland of Holland Planning Consultants hired to help Craven County Planning Department draft the proposed ordinance said advocacy groups for the military “had reviewed it in quite some detail.”
The ordinance does not attempt to zone out tall structures, Holland said. But the county wanted to make sure the military identified any potential issue so it can be mitigated to minimize any negative impact.
The ordinance would apply to unincorporated areas of the county that are not in municipal extraterritorial jurisdictions and would limit wind energy and communication structures to areas that minimize their visual impact on the surrounding areas and are at least 500 feet from an existing residential structure. Depending on the structure and use, lot size, setback and the 100 feet to 500 feet maximum height vary.
Havelock Chamber of Commerce Director Nancy Duncan said, “We would like to advise that we are very much in favor of this ordinance.” She brought a chamber resolution supporting it.
Dacey saw Havelock Mayor Jimmy Sanders in the audience and asked if the city of Havelock supports the proposed ordinance.
“Absolutely,” Sanders said.
James Norment, lobbyist for Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow, said, “Over the last several months, one key question keeps coming up in Raleigh and Washington, D.C.: Do we have the right tools in place to allow us to coordinate and assist in preserving the military’s training ranges?”
He said Craven County has “most of them but not all. This ordinance is an important tool we need. It will allow us to take a careful and deliberate approach to dealing with tall structures that might interfere with military training.”
Norment said that when meeting with the assistant secretary of defense for installations in Washington last May, “the assistant secretary held North Carolina up as a positive model for how to promote compatible development … especially for aircraft training.”
“What you do here does get noticed and it does make a difference,” he said. “It matters to our community’s future. It matters to our Marine Corps neighbors.”
He said the draft ordinance, which the county worked on with other municipal and county governments in the area in an effort to use it as a model for other Eastern N.C. counties, is “reasonable and workable.”
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