County control on industry; changes could come - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Changes could come that would give the county more control on industry moving to the area

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Some members of the New Hanover County Planning and Inspections Department want to see more county oversight over what industries move to the area.

Tonight, the department weighed zoning changes that would give the county more regulatory authority over heavy industry.

Department leaders said concerns over air and water quality are the reason why they would like to have more control over what companies set up shop here.

These efforts are also in response to the county having limited regulatory authority over plans for Titan Cement.

The county's current zoning plans were written in 1969 and some argue they're outdated.

Progress Energy officials spoke out against the changes, saying they're already regulated enough by state and federal agencies. However, Progress Energy officials declined our request for an interview on the subject.

Mike Giles from the North Carolina Coastal Federation spoke out in favor of the changes. He said the county should have more say in who comes to the community.

Giles said right now, there is no local review of industry moving to the area.

"We need the best industry, not open zoning where anyone can come in and do what they want to and have no local review," he said. "My concern and the Coastal Federation's concern is the health of our children our air quality and our water quality. It's all related."

He went on to say that state and federal agencies do not look at a cumulative impact when reviewing a permit for a company. Giles believes that's why the county should also have a process in place for approval of industry.

The board delayed a decision on the matter, resolving to hold a meeting with stakeholders before moving forward.

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