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Macon commissioners give board new direction

fr maconplanningWith the six-month process of getting a nuisance noise ordinance passed behind them, members of the Macon County Planning Board now have some new assignments.

Macon County commissioners commended the board for hashing out details of the county’s first noise ordinance and didn’t waste any time giving the board further direction on other ordinances that need attention.

The planning board will begin examining the county’s telecommunication ordinance as well as its high-impact land uses ordinance. Planning Director Matt Mason said the telecommunication ordinance needed to be adjusted to reflect new state and federal requirements.

The telecommunication ordinance allows the county to regulate the placements and heights of communication installations like radio and cellphone towers. 

The purpose of the high-impact ordinance is to promote health, safety and general welfare of residents by diminishing the impacts of noise, odors, vibrations, fumes, light, smoke, dust or other impacts that would interfere with residents’ quiet enjoyment on adjacent land. 

High-impact uses would include — but are not limited to — airfields or airstrips, asphalt plants, chemical or explosives manufacturers, wood grinding operations, commercial incinerators, concrete suppliers, processing plants and solid waste facilities. 

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The ordinance limits where these types of businesses can be located, establishes certain setbacks, buffers and other mitigating factors. 

“Some regulations go a little too far in my opinion,” said Commission Chairman Kevin Corbin. “It doesn’t make sense that people can’t do a few things listed in the high-impact ordinance.”

Commissioner Paul Higdon said he would like to see the planning board look for any opportunity to help small businesses overcome any impediments they may be facing with county fees.  

Commissioner Ronnie Beale suggested a couple members of the planning board get more involved in the county’s transportation issues. Beale represents the county on the North Carolina Department of Transportation planning committee. Since the committee is responsible for prioritizing transportation projects based on a point system, Beale said the planning board could be helpful identifying the needs in Macon County. 

Planning board chairman Chris Haners said it would be beneficial to have more communication between the county commissioners and its appointed boards because many of the boards work toward the same type of goals in different ways. 

In the past, Corbin said the planning board has spent time developing new ordinances that ended up not getting passed by commissioners. To avoid wasting the planning board’s time in the future, he said commissioners should give the planning board direction as to what they would like to see done. 

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