The long and winding road to a new special use permit ordinance for New Hanover County appears, on the surface, to be nearing an end.
According to Planning and Inspections Director Chris O’Keefe, the planning board did complete its review of the permit text and has reached general consensus on its next steps.
“The Planning Board has directed staff to formulate the planning board work into a final text version for their consideration at the planning board meeting on November 3,” O’Keefe said via email. “After the planning board completes its action on the SUP text, it will then begin its deliberations about the table of permitted uses.”
O’Keefe said that the board will consider three existing table versions and wait on the policy audit currently underway by LSL Planning, an outside consulting firm, as part of its overall rewrite of the zoning ordinance.
“The idea is to see if the policy audit produces any suggestions around industry assignment to the table,” according to O’Keefe. “The three tables planned for review include the 2014 version prepared by staff [but not considered by the board of commissioners], a version most recently submitted by the Coastal Federation, and Wake County’s table of permitted uses.”
A special use permit
(SUP) is required for any development that might be compatible with a zone in which it wishes to locate, but requires special consideration of its potential impacts on the surrounding area.
The N.C. Coastal Federation, which has been very involved in the process of reworking the SUP, last week sent out an email encouraging residents to attend the next New Hanover County Board of Commissioners meeting at 9 a.m. Oct. 17. The commissioners will not be voting on the SUP at this meeting.
In 2011, county commissioners approved a special use permit ordinance that replaced an outdated 1969 policy. In 2014, amendments were proposed to the 2011 SUP to add more clarity to the application and permitting process. These amendments ultimately failed in a 2-2 vote by the county commissioners.
The county planning board’s next meeting is Nov. 3 at the county courthouse, 316 Princess St., at 6 p.m.