County Denies Request From Carthage on Zoning Extension
Faced with a roomful of opponents, the Moore County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday night to deny a request from Carthage for an extraterritorial jurisdiction extension.
Response to the vote was noisy applause.
“We enjoy our rural lifestyle,” opponent Joan Robinson said during the public hearing. “We want to remain in the country.”
She was one of about 35 residents who signed up to speak during the public hearing.
However, the hearing was shortened when board Chairman Nick Picerno asked if anyone in the audience wanted to speak in favor of the request. No one responded. Then he asked if any of the other opponents signed up to speak would like to be heard. With the board clearly leaning toward denial, again no one spoke up.
“This is a tough decision," said Commissioner Tim Lea, who made the motion to deny the request. "It’s no reflection on the town council,”
Planning Director Debra Ensminger said the town request to extend the ETJ by one mile was within the legal limits spelled out in state law. However, the Moore County Planning Board voted unanimously at an October meeting to recommend denial of the request.
The area affected encompasses 371 parcels of about 5,741 acres of land mostly zoned for residential agricultural uses, with a sprinkling of other zoning districts.
Carthage Town Manager Carol Sparks said the extension is needed to protect town interests and pointed out that there are already several satellite annexations, making it difficult for emergency responders to distinguish between in-town and out-of-town sites. She said the town has no interest in annexing the area. Although the town cannot tax property in the ETJ, she said that the town can provide such services as water, sewer and emergency response within the ETJ.
On another sensitive issue, the commissioners agreed to table a proposed working lands protection plan until they have studied the matter in more detail. A public hearing on this subject also drew objections.
In response to public comments at the beginning of the meeting, the board agreed to call a special meeting to consider the controversial proposed U.S. 1 bypass around Southern Pines and Aberdeen. The meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Monday, Dec.5.
More details about the commissioners' meeting will appear in the Friday edition of The Pilot.
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