NEWPORT — The Newport Town Council may take action in June on several items which came before it Thursday for public hearings.
The council met online via Zoom May 14 for its regular meeting. During the meeting, the council opened public hearings on two proposed ordinance amendments, and a rezoning request. All three hearings were individually continued until the next regular council meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 11.
Town Manager Bryan Chadwick said Friday they had to continue the hearings due to state legislation from the General Assembly regarding public hearings during a state of emergency.
“If everyone can’t be there or it (the meeting) is done electronically, hearings must go an additional 24 hours to allow for written comments,” he said.
One of these proposed ordinance amendments is for allowed uses in the R-20 (residential agricultural) district. Town Planner J.P. Duncan said the proposed amendment came about due to the town planning board being hesitant to recommend approval for a rezoning due to the district allowing livestock in it.
“There’s not too much to this amendment,” Mr. Duncan said. “It just narrows down the definition of a farm.”
The amendment, if approved, would add a definition for intensive livestock operations and would remove them from allowed uses in the R-20 zone. The reason for this proposed change is to avoid livestock operations in town limits, where it might prove a nuisance to neighboring property owners.
Town Attorney Derek Taylor was present for Thursday’s meeting. After Mayor Pro Tem Chuck Shinn pointed out a different ordinance differentiated between the town’s corporate limits and its extra-territorial jurisdiction – where livestock operations would still be allowed – Mr. Taylor said both ordinances should be amended so they don’t contradict each other.
Meanwhile, the board also continued the public hearing for an amendment to the Flood Damage Prevention ordinance. Mr. Duncan said the amendment is necessary to remain eligible for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System, which allows communities to qualify for lower flood insurance rates by taking precautionary measures.
“As new flood plain maps become available, the state statutes automatically adopt them,” Mr. Duncan said.
Last but not least, the council also continued the hearing for a rezoning request from Carl and Erin Gull of C&E Rentals to rezone 12.72 acres at 982 Chatham St. from R-20A (single-family residential with a 20,000 square foot minimum lot size) district to R-20.
Ms. Gull, who was present for the meeting, said they intend to remove existing trailers on the property, plant a tree stand and use part of the lot to mulch vegetative debris.
“It’s not our intention to do anything with livestock,” Ms. Gull said. She also said the reason for requesting the rezoning is to meet state requirements.
The hearings weren’t the only items continued until a later meeting. The council also tabled action on a resolution to adopt the Pamlico Sound Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan until the council’s budget meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 28. The council tabled action because it had questions Town Manager Bryan Chadwick said would take time to get answered.
In other news at the May 14 meeting, the council unanimously authorized Mr. Chadwick to accept a $16,242 bid from Genesis Construction of Morehead City to repair the Boy Scout hut at 157 Howard Blvd. During council comments, Councilman Mark Eadie said he knew the Boy Scouts were “anxious to use the hut again.”
The following also occurred:
- Mr. Chadwick presented Town Clerk Kelly Cauldwell with a resolution declaring May 3-9 Municipal Clerk Week in Newport and expressing town officials’ appreciation for Ms. Cauldwell’s service to the town.
- The council unanimously approved a resolution to close a section of Bell Street owned by Veneer Tech.
- The council unanimously approved the meeting’s consent agenda, which included minutes from the April 9 council meeting and April 23 budget meeting, re-appointing Christopher Germain to the town board of adjustment and setting a public hearing for the June 11 council meeting for an ordinance amendment regarding allowed uses in the CH (commercial highway) district.
Contact Mike Shutak at 252-723-7353, email firstname.lastname@example.org; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.