Planning Board continues rezoning request

Published 5:00 pm Thursday, September 29, 2016

A rezoning request was tabled for a month by the Washington Planning Board during its meeting Tuesday.

Howard Nichols, owner of East Coastal Consulting, asked for the continuation. East Coastal Consulting is the applicant seeking the rezoning of a 16.67-acre parcel on Whichard’s Beach Road so it can be used as a campground.

The applicant wants the land zoned R-20 (a residential-agricultural designation). Currently, it is zoned R-15S (another residential designation, single family). The applicant would need a special-use permit that would allow the campground in the R-20 district. The request form lists Howard Nichols as the owner or agent acting on behalf of the owner, Choco NEC, LLC, based in New Bern. Tolson is the company’s registered agent, according to the N.C. Department of the Secretary of State.

During a public hearing on the request, Warren Whichard, developer of the Bay Lake subdivision next to the 16.67 acres, voiced his opposition to the land being developed as a campground. Whichard prefers the land be used for agricultural and/or residential uses.

“I would not like to see it zoned for a campground. I have no opposition to residential. It’s always been residential and agriculture,” Whichard said.

“If Mr. Whichard has that much of an issue with the campground, then we would like to table this is for a month to see if maybe we can talk together and work some things out,” Nichols said. “If we can’t do the campground, the property has … slightly more value as an R-15S than it does as an R-20. I hate to pull the application and lose our application fee and all that stuff, but I would like to have a month to maybe sit down with Mr. Whichard (to talk about the issue).”

Dot Moate, the board’s vice chairwoman, informed Nichols and Whichard that when considering a rezoning request, the board cannot consider specific uses allowed in a particular zoning district. It can only discuss whether a rezoning is appropriate. If a piece of land is rezoned, all permitted uses in that zoning district apply. The board can only recommend rezoning a piece of land. The City Council has final say on rezoning matters.

If someone wants a use not permitted in a zoning district, that person must seek a special-use permit from the Board of Adjustment.

The Planning Board voted unanimously to continue the request to its October meeting.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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