A proposed tall structures ordinance that has received two public hearings by the Craven County Board of Commissioners is expected to get a vote at today’s 7 p.m. meeting of the board.
Commissioners stepped back from early approval of the ordinance drafted as an attempt to better plan wind turbine and cell tower tall structures to be compatible with other area land uses, particularly of air flight patterns, after two area businessmen spoke at the hearings asking that they look harder at the potential downside.
Zach Taylor of Trent Woods and Henry “Bud” Stilley of New Bern didn’t speak against having an ordinance to regulate wind energy or cell phone towers, but said they felt the proposed ordinance went too far in terms of permit cost and general restraint.
Some modifications were made to clarify the ordinance to protectmilitary and civilian aircraft transmissions and to prevent the beauty of the county from being marred. The board tabled it until key county staff and a couple of commissioners attended a League of Municipalities-sponsored broadband symposium at the Doubletree in New Bern.
County Manager Jack Veit said the information presented was interesting and showed how much the broadband industry was destined to grow. The event was attended by representatives from city, towns and county governments across the state.
But Veit said he does not think the proposed ordinance, which will be presented again today by Craven County Planning Director Don Baumgardner, needs to change more as a result.
Concerns about wind turbines interfering with military training flight paths and signals also are being addressed in a bill that passed the N.C. House of Representatives and its first reading in the N.C. Senate last week.
The U.S. Secretary of Defense has told military officials to steer clear of initiating any interference with alternative energy efforts, but Craven County and North Carolina, with several military air bases they want to protect, is trying to be proactive.
Rep. Pat McElraft, R-Carteret, and Rep. Chris Whitmire, R-Transylvania, were primary N.C. House sponsors, and Rep. George Graham, D-Lenoir, and Rep. Mike Speciale, R-Craven, who also represent Craven, signed on to the bill.
Sen. Harry Brown, R-Onslow, and Sen. Norman Sanderson, R-Pamlico, are sponsors of the Senate Bill.
The Pamlico County Board of Commissioners rejected a proposed tall structures ordinance there.
Commissioners also are scheduled to hear 2013-14 proposed budget requests from Craven County Schools Superintendent Lane Mills and Craven Community College President Catherine Chew.
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