Columbus County commissioners will soon consider a proposed land-use ordinance that the county planner says would protect property values and help recruit businesses.
The ordinance would require landowners to seek conditional-use permits before opening industrial facilities, adult businesses and "intensive" livestock farming, among other operations.
Columbus County Planner Gary Lanier explained the planning board and county commissioners would vote on issuing permits following public hearings.
"This really will give some protections to our citizens that we feel are sorely needed," he said.
Luke Elkins of Western Prong supports the idea. He and his wife considered constructing a housing development on their land north of Chadbourn several years ago, but that idea was thwarted when a neighbor put up massive turkey houses. With no land-use ordinance in place, Elkins didn't have a say.
"I've got a lot of land and I don't really like for somebody to tell me what I can put on my land," Elkins said. "But there's got to be some kind of guidelines, whether I like it or not, to protect other folks."
Lanier said Columbus is the only county in the region without land-use controls outside town limits - a fact that comes as a surprise to some business executives considering locating in the aera.
"They literally look at me like I'm from Mars or something," Lanier said.
County commissioners are expected to hold a public hearing in June or July to seek input on the proposed ordinance.
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