Zoning ordinance update begins

Published 6:53 pm Tuesday, February 18, 2020

JACKSON – After legislation passed by the North Carolina General Assembly last year updated some of the state’s existing ordinances and required local governments to do the same, the Northampton Board of Commissioners began taking the first steps towards that goal at their regular meeting here on Feb. 3.

Northampton County Manager Charles Jackson explained to the Board that the county would be required to update their existing ordinances to match the new state statutes and to develop a comprehensive land use plan by the end of 2020.

“Needless to say, we are under the crunch to get that done,” he explained.

To help with the process, Jackson invited consultant Roger Waldon to speak to the Board.

“In terms of a comprehensive plan, you don’t really have one right now that meets the kinds of requirements one would expect from a comprehensive plan,” Waldon said. “But you’ve already got some discussions underway.”

He suggested it would be helpful for the commissioners to appoint a committee of local citizens to participate in future discussions.

Waldon’s proposed work timeline would begin in March with a review of the county’s existing ordinances and other relevant documents. Drafting of the new plans and amendments would be done between May and July. If all goes well, the county’s Planning Board would review everything in August, and then a public hearing would be held in September, and finally, the new comprehensive plan and ordinance amendments would be adopted in October.

The estimated fees for the project, to include paying Waldon for his consulting services, would be $12,740.

Commissioner Geneva Faulkner asked which budget line item would this money come from. Jackson answered that he hadn’t identified a specific line item yet, but he believed they could use money from the contingency fund. Planning and Zoning Director William Flynn also chimed in to say he thought he had some funds available in his department’s budget as well, but he did not identify how much.

Faulkner motioned to approve consulting with Waldon for the project, and Commissioner Nicole Boone seconded. The vote was unanimously in favor.

“This is just falling in line with what we had already planned. We can kill two birds with one shot and get it over with,” said Board Chair Charles Tyner in support of the plan to proceed.