Thursday, January 10, 2008

Shall we zone?

At present, with the exception of airport zoning, Craven County does not have any zoning in place at this time. Over the years this has led to a hodgepodge of single family homes, multi family homes, trailer parks, and businesses all within the same areas. In addition, in Township 7 commercial development along service roads that were not designed for heavy volumes of traffic has led to serious traffic flow problems at the major intersections.
Tuesday night the Craven County Planning Department held a public information meeting to discuss what zoning can and can't do to help ensure balanced and stable growth in Township 7 and Township 6. The meeting was well attended, and feedback was mostly positive. Although there was initially some confusion about the City of New Bern's extraterritorial jurisdiction authority and ability to forcible annex I feel we all came away from the meeting having learned something.
Craven County was not so many years ago considered a rural area. When you were heading south from downtown New Bern on HWY 17, Simmons Street was the boundary for the city limits. Beyond that were small farms on Trent Road and as you crossed Racetrack Road you again saw mostly family farms. Across the Trent River with the exception of Old Cherry Point Road you found family farms and large tree farms. Now these areas are developing at a very rapid pace.
Several months ago at one of our regular scheduled meetings I asked my fellow County Commissioners to support me in asking the County Manager to hold a series of public information meetings to get input from the citizens and see how they feel about zoning in Township 6 and Township 7. I feel it is something we need and I hope the majority of the citizens feel the same.
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