Planning commission recommends NCCF rezoning, tables others

This stretch of shoreline is part of a more than 76-acre tract the N.C. Coastal Federation and Carteret County purchased this year for conservation and recreation purposes. (NCCF photo)

BEAUFORT — The Carteret County Planning Commission recommended one rezoning request Monday evening but chose to table two others for additional review.

The commission, a review and recommendation panel, held its regular monthly meeting in the commissioners’ boardroom of the county administration complex in Beaufort. Commission member David Heath, as well as some members of the public, attended the meeting via Zoom. 

The planning commission first considered a request from the N.C. Coastal Federation to rezone a 10.06-acre parcel near Morada Bay Drive in Newport from R-20 (single-family residential) to B1-CU (general business, conditional use) district. The proposed rezoning will allow the NCCF to construct a new headquarters on the property, as well as establish open space for passive recreation.

The planning commission previously considered the rezoning as part of a larger county-initiated request last month, but it tabled the NCCF’s portion due to concerns of nearby residents over potential future uses allowed with a B1 zoning. In response, the NCCF amended its request to be conditional use, which limits allowed uses to those specified within the application.

NCCF Executive Director Todd Miller attended the meeting to answer any questions that arose, but the commission voted to recommend the request with little discussion. In partnership with the county, NCCF plans to use the more than 76 acres of land for recreation and conservation purposes.

The planning commission next considered a request from Prestige Land Surveying to rezone a 235.97-acre property at 2057 Highway 58, Swansboro from R-20, RA (rural agriculture) and B-3 (planned business) districts to RCP-CU (recreational camper park, conditional use) district. As proposed by the applicant, the conditional-use zoning would permit all uses allowed by the RCP district, as well as some additional uses allowed in the general business district.

Several nearby residents spoke in opposition to the rezoning, saying a camper park could potentially disturb the rural nature of the area.

“The woods that we contend with back right up to our farms, and if they were to clear cut those woods … it would ruin this area,” nearby resident Gilbert Taylor said. “It would completely change the landscape and what we moved out there for.”

Prestige Land Surveying owner John Odom was in attendance Monday and said the plan is to build an “upscale” RV and cottage park with the possibility for some commercial uses along Highway 58.

“We do plan on a large buffer, a natural buffer between (property owners) and the development,” he said. “…We’ll come back to this board, if I understand this process right, with a site plan, so there will be a lot more opportunities for you to get involved in this development as it progresses along.”

The planning commission ended up being forced to table the matter upon learning proper public notice was not provided ahead of the meeting, but commission members encouraged the concerned property owners to discuss with the developer what potential land uses they’d be more comfortable allowing for the property.   

Finally, the commission considered a request from Island Church of Emerald Isle to rezone a 1.01-acre property at 3095 Highway 24 in Newport from R-15M (single-family residential) to B1 district. Paul Ortiz with Island Church said the church has been trying, unsuccessfully, to sell the property for about three years and is seeking the rezoning to help make it more marketable.

“We worked very hard to try to get another ministry into that space, but that has just not worked out over three years,” Mr. Ortiz said.

However, several neighbors of the church said they were opposed to the possibility of a commercial building located so close to their properties, especially with a B1 zoning, which allows the most uses of all the business districts.

Mr. Heath suggested the applicant change the rezoning request to be conditional use, which would limit permissible uses for the property. Mr. Ortiz said he was OK with that suggestion, and the planning commission voted to table the matter to allow the applicant the chance to amend the request.

The tabled requests will appear before the commission again before going before the County Board of Commissioners for a public hearings and final decision.

Contact Elise Clouser at elise@thenewstimes.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.

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