The latest draft of New Hanover County’s special use permit—which is what industrial companies need to launch or expand operations—is back on the drawing board. After the planning department brought the controversial ordinance before the county planning board last week, board members voted four to two to table the discussion for 30 days. Now, the planning department is counting on the public to inform its next version.
The board asked the county to consider expanding its proposed timeline to review special use permit applications from 45 to 55 days. Board members also seek more information about the proposed role of state and federal permits in special use permit approval; namely, whether these will be sufficient to address local concerns. But, the county won’t be tackling those two sections for a couple of weeks. First, says assistant county manager Tim Burgess, the planning department will collect—and examine--written input from the public.
"Our plan is to include those comments as part of the agenda packets for the planning board members. So not only will staff see those, and be able to take those comments into consideration, but the planning board members will be able to take those into consideration also, as they look into what changes they may be interested in making to the ordinance itself."
Last week, several members of the community stood before the board to say they wanted more time to read and consider the new draft. Now they’ll have until Friday, January 24 to directly respond to the county.
***For more information about submitting a public comment, visit the New Hanover County's Planning and Inspections Department website.