Tonight, New Hanover County’s planning department is holding a public hearing about some newly-proposed changes to the special use permit.
At a November work session, the planning department offered a draft that would require applicants to address their long-range impact on the community and environment.
The latest changes are meant to clarify requirements, but some are saying the new language also stands to modify them.
In proposing additional amendments, the New Hanover County planning department used input from the public and showed changes to a steering committee representing diverse business, industry and environmental interests. But steering committee member Mike Giles, of the North Carolina Coastal Federation, says he’s concerned about the changes.
"This document is sixteen pages long; it’s very hard to read. And for the public to come to the public hearing on Thursday and be able to address their concerns effectively and in an informed way, it’s going to be very difficult."
County Manager Chris Coudriet says the new draft is simply intended to more precisely define intensive manufacturing, and clarify the application timeline. The changes are procedural ones -- not policy changes.
"It has been identified, in a very public way, that some aspects of the process of the special use permit, as it relates to industry, showed a lack of clarity."
Following the public hearing, the planning board will take their special use permit recommendations to the county commission.
Coudriet says this could be voted on as early as the commissioners’ first meeting in February.
** New Hanover County 's public hearing takes place Thursday, January 9th at 6 p.m. at the New Hanover County Historic Courthouse, 24 North Third Street (corner of Third and Princess Streets), Room 301, in Wilmington.