NEWTON GROVE — Changes regarding the town’s zoning ordinance, including updates on mobile homes, signage and solar farm regulations, are coming soon, pending approval from the town’s leaders.
Faye Lewis, a representative of the Mid-Carolina Council of Governments, presented the proposed updates at a Monday town meeting.
Mark Zeigler, community development planner with the North Carolina Department of Commerce, was also involved in the process, which involved looking at other communities. He said the overall purpose was to improve the look of the town.
“We were careful to look at other towns to see what they were doing,” Zeigler said. “We tried to pick attractive towns and towns that were working well.”
Commissioner Laura Wheeler and her colleagues said they did not feel comfortable voting for the changes since they did not have enough time to review the ordinance, which was provided during the meeting as thick packet.
“This is a lot of material to look over,” Wheeler said regarding the updated zoning regulations, which were adopted by the town’s planning board. “It’s a lot of material and I just don’t feel comfortable with approving everything.”
It was also prepared by other state agencies such as the North Carolina Department of Commerce. Wheeler made a suggestion to have a work session to discuss the plethora of updates made to the ordinance. She also alluded to making sure everyone and other advisory boards are on the same page when it came to making changes.
“These are important pieces of information,” she said. “I think we need to look at this more carefully, so we don’t end up in the same situation we’ve been in.”
During previous meetings, some residents complained about solar farms being near their homes, which has been an issue for quite some time now. According to the proposed regulation, all facilities should be at least 100 feet from a public road and 50 feet from a side or rear property line. If an area is improved, it must be at least 300 feet away from properties, schools and churches.
Major changes regarding sizes were made in regards commercial, industrial and residential signs which are visible to the public. The purpose of having smaller signs was to improve the look of the town. Sings require a permit from an administrative officer, unless it’s for certain organizations and circumstances. Some of the listed ones included directional and informational notices, civic organizations and churches.
In regards to manufactured or mobile homes, the ordinance states that the home is subject to inspections, which may include plumbing, heating, general dwelling repairs, skirt maintenance and sewer or septic. It also includes the upkeep of windows, siding, shingles and exterior paint.
During the meeting, some residents said they were unaware and did not have time to read the new ordinance.
According to town officials, information was published in newspapers and posted on the town’s website, www.newtongrove.net. Copies were also available at town hall during regular office hours. Mayor Barbra Burch made a suggestion to post a notice on the town hall door as well.
Commissioners scheduled another public hearing to approve the zoning ordinance. The next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 12.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.