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Board to discuss Washington High School soccer complex

Washington’s Planning Board, during its meeting Tuesday, will consider a request to change the zoning classification of 6.49 acres just south of Washington High School from R9S (residential) to office and institutional.

Beaufort County Schools, owner of the land, wants to expand Washington High School’s recreational facilities onto the land. The applicant that submitted the request is the Washington High School Athletic Association.

After a staff presentation, public hearing on and discussion of the request, the board is expected to make a recommendation to the City Council. The council would decide whether to change the zoning classification or not change it.

At its May meeting, the board unanimously approved a preliminary site plan for a soccer complex on the 6.49 acres. At that meeting, the city’s planning staff recommended two land parcels be combined into one parcel, the proposed site’s zoning classification be changed from residential to occupational and industrial and the land be annexed by the city. Currently, the site is in the city’s extra-territorial jurisdiction, an area where the city’s zoning regulations and building codes apply.

Nell Moseley, who owns a house adjacent to the proposed site but does not live in it because she is renovating it, told the board at its May meeting that she has concerns about the proposed complex. Those concerns include noise, sight and light pollution disturbing the adjacent residential area. The removal of trees from the site would make it easier for noise and light generated at the complex to make its way to the residential area. Removing the trees also would provide a clearer line of sight from the residential area to the WHS complex, Moseley said.

Moseley questioned if a required 20-foot buffer between the proposed site and the residential area is enough. “20 feet sounds great, if you plant me some wax myrtles. … Once you clear that, it will be like looking through someone’s window,” she said.

Board members told Moseley an approved landscaping plan would be required before the project could be approved. That plan would include shrubbery, which would help serve as a buffer, board member Jane Alligood said.

The total cost to build the complex is estimated at $450,000, according to school officials.

The Planning Board meets at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 102. E. Second St., Washington.

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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