Zoning ordinance committee starts the ball rolling

By: By Chrysta Carroll - ccarroll@civitasmedia.com

ELIZABETHTOWN — The Elizabethtown Zoning Ordinance Advisory Committee is banking on residents’ bend toward opining, and they spent more than an hour recently considering how they could encourage it.

At its June 6 inaugural meeting, members heard from Dale Holland of Holland Consulting, whom the town contracted with to assist in rewriting the zoning ordinances, and he told them that, at best, the ordinance rewrite should be complete by November or December.

The rewrite has been a long time coming.

“The ordinance, while it’s structurally in good shape, is outdated,” said Town Manager Eddie Madden. “The legislature, over the past five years particularly, has made changes to state law regarding local zoning authority, and many of those changes have not been adopted locally.”

He went on to explain, “A zoning ordinance regulates where things can go, it limits where commercial businesses can be located, and it regulates building size and setbacks from property lines. In addition, it regulates parking in commercial areas, as well as landscape and storm water requirements and signage — from yard sale signs to billboards and everything in between.”

As an early step in the rewrite process, the committee is seeking community input regarding the ordinances, and has approved a plan to do so including the following measures:

— A public information meeting with the Town Council will be held to introduce and describe the project.

— An open house will be held, which will be an informal time of input from stakeholders. Holland conjectured that it would take place in July or August.

— All meetings will be advertised in the Bladen Journal.

— A sign-up sheet will be placed in the municipal building and at all committee meetings, the purpose of which is to obtain names, addresses, and/or email addresses for people who would like to be notified of upcoming meetings.

— A website has been dedicated to the project. On the site, interested persons can request that their names be added to the notification list, all meeting times and dates will be posted, the public can offer comments, the sections of the ordinance on which the committee is currently working can be viewed, and completed sections are accessible as well. The website can be found at elizabethtownzoning.org, or it can be found via a link on the town’s web site.

“We want, we welcome, we encourage community input,” Holland told the committee.

Elizabethtown Mayor Sylvia Campbell agreed.

“The more input we have now, the less likely it is that we’ll have to revisit it later,” she said.

The next meeting of the Advisory Committee will be held on Thursday, June 16, at 5:30 p.m. at the Municipal Building.

Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.


By Chrysta Carroll