No changes to Northampton zoning fees

Published 4:27 pm Friday, May 31, 2024

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JACKSON – A rare split vote among the Northampton County Board of Commissioners means that fees will stay the same for the county’s Planning and Zoning (Code Enforcement) Department.

Derrick Bennett, the county’s Economic Development Director who is also currently serving as the interim Code Enforcement Director, presented the request again to the commissioners during their meeting on Monday, May 20.

They previously considered the matter at their May 13 meeting, but decided to table it for more time to think over the proposed changes.

The county’s current zoning permit fee is $20, which is one of the lowest when compared to surrounding counties. Halifax and Gates counties both charge $25, while Hertford County charges $50. Warren County was the highest in the area at $100.

The proposal would increase Northampton County’s fee to $50.

Other proposed fee changes include lowering the rezoning/ordinance amendment fee from $400 to $275, and increasing the appeal of administrative determinations from $50 to $275. For subdivision applications, the initial fee would remain at $100 but the cost per each additional lot would increase from $5 to $10.

The special use permit fee and the zoning variance fee would both remain at $275.

Bennett noted at the May 13 meeting that the county’s Planning Board had recommended the changes, and he also explained the current fee is not enough to support the time and labor it takes to process a permit request.

At the May 20 meeting, Bennett also stated, “the $20 permit fee has been relatively flat over the past few years that I’m aware of.”

The Board did not have any further discussion on the topic at Monday’s meeting.

Board member Ed Martin motioned to approve the proposed fee changes, and Kelvin Edwards provided the second. They both voted in favor, but Melvetta Broadnax Taylor and Geneva Faulkner were both opposed.

Board Chair Charles Tyner was unable to attend Monday’s meeting, meaning there was no one to break the tied vote.

County Attorney Scott McKellar noted that a split vote does not pass.

The fees will remain unchanged at this time.