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Bypass land-use plan clears hurdle

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The Pitt County Planning Board has recommended approval of a plan governing property along the new U.S. 264 Southwest Bypass.

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By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Pitt County planners are encouraging residents who want to comment on a proposed land-use plan for the area around the Southwest Bypass to use an online survey through Oct. 15.

Senior Planner Eric Gooby said comments will be accepted up until the Pitt County Board of Commissioners’ Oct. 15 public hearing on the plan. The survey link can be found at pittcountync.gov/SWbypass.

Gooby’s comments came after the Pitt County Planning Board held a public hearing on the proposal Wednesday night and no one spoke, despite six people showing up for a presentation.

The planning board members voted unanimously to endorse the plan and recommended the Board of Commissioners amend the county’s 2030 Comprehensive Land-Use Plan to refer to the Southwest Bypass plan.

While no one spoke during the public comment period, Ayden resident Carolyn Tyndall questioned the planners when the board meeting ended.

Tyndall owns farm land in an area with a proposed transitional neighborhood development designation. Tyndall said while she had no immediate plans for the property, she is thinking about its heirs.

“I wanted to confirmed what the land-use would be for that piece of property and if there was any recourse if I considered doing something else with it,” she said.

She was advised that the property fell within the town of Ayden’s planning jurisdiction and she would have to research their process.

Tyndall said she hasn’t closely followed the development process of the land-use plan but has seen maps.

“I think (a land-use plan) is a good idea, but obviously landowners are going to be concerned about what they had planned and want to know if it’s going to fit in with their plans. We are all concerned about self,” Tyndall said.

The governing bodies of Pitt County and Greenville, Winterville and Ayden joined with the Greenville Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and North Carolina Department of Transportation in late 2017 to write a plan that will govern development in the approximately five-square-mile area that extends from Stantonsburg Road’s interchange with the U.S. 264 Bypass to just south of Ayden with N.C. 11.

The plan has six goals; a safe, efficient and convenient transportation system; supporting economic development; smart growth based on existing and future infrastructure to balance various types of development; collaborations and partnerships among local governments; cohesive design; and preserving the county’s agriculture and natural resources.

The bulk of land west of the bypass would primarily be agricultural and suburban residential areas. The industrial areas would be focused between the U.S. 264 Bypass and U.S. 13, where the new bypass intersects with N.C. 11 outside Ayden and where current industrial sites are located in Winterville.

Commercial, mixed-use, and neighborhood commercial development would be focused around the interchanges.

Once the map is adopted, local land-use regulations — zoning and subdivision development — would have to be updated along with comprehensive land-use plans.

The plan also calls on the governing bodies to adopt coordinated standards for billboards and signage along the bypass.

Another task would be improving the quality of new residential development, which will require developers to provide amenities needed in urbanizing areas.

Those amenities could range from enhanced street and sidewalk standards to increased open space and recreational area requirements. People living and conducting business in the land-use area favor increased open space, particularly greenways and recreational walking space.

Another task is working with Pitt County Schools to locate new school sites east of the bypass. The study acknowledges land is less expensive further away from municipalities, but locating schools west of the bypass will encourage development that would be in conflict with the goal of maintaining the agricultural areas.

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com or 252-329-9570.

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