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Proposed soccer complex closer to being constructed

The Washington City Council, during its meeting Monday, unanimously approved the preliminary site plan for a soccer complex on the south side of Washington High School.
The Planning Board, which discussed the plan at its June meeting, recommended the council approve the plan.
Some speakers at a public hearing on the plan voice their support for the project, while others expressed their concerns about the proposed site of the complex. 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.
The regulations governing the zoning district (single-family residential) in which the proposed soccer complex (a permitted use in that district) would be located require special development standards in order to be permitted.
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 June meeting that she has concerns about the proposed complex. She reiterated them to the council. 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 has doubts that a required 20-foot buffer between the proposed site and the residential area is enough.
Louis Martin, whose backyard abuts the proposed complex site, said he believes the school needs the complex. “I think most everybody can agree that the soccer complex is needed for the school. However, it is not needed at that location, in my opinion.”
Martin voiced concerns about the complex not being compatible with a residential area. Martin, a former city building inspector, said the city’s zoning regulations regarding residential areas are in place to protect homeowners from “unwarranted uses right at our backdoor.” Martin told the council allowing the complex to be built next to the residential area would violate the spirit and intent of the zoning regulations.
Martin suggested a more appropriate site for the complex would be west of the proposed site, beyond the school’s baseball and softball fields.
John Ford, who lives in the residential area just south of the school, supports the proposed site for the complex. Ford said he doesn’t believe the complex would adversely affect nearby homeowners. “I just wanted to come in as a resident of that neighborhood. Speaking with a majority of my neighbors, they don’t have an issue either, the ones who live across the street from me,” Ford said. “I’m all for it. It’s something the school has needed.”
Jerry Klass, a retired teacher and coach who also lives in the neighborhood, supports the proposed site for the complex. “I think it’s a great thing for the kids. The trees … act as a buffer.”
Klass voiced one concern related to the existing athletic fields near the proposed complex site. “The only big problems is when a game gets done and people try to go through the subdivision to try to beat the light (at Old Bath Highway and Slatestone Road). Other than that, I give it a thumbs up,” he said.

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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