State Port Pilot, 04.05.23
This newspaper recently reported on a set of bills put forward in the N.C. legislature which would take away all N.C. towns’ traditional rights to set local zoning and building codes. Instead, a one-size-fits-all set of rules that favor developers/builders would take over. Perhaps there is some justification for those state-wide rules in other areas, but they would be disastrous here.
Southeastern Brunswick County is unique in that it is ringed by the ocean, the Intracoastal Waterway, and the mouth of the Cape Fear River. Extensive wetlands throughout much of our coastal area are crucial to preventing flooding and coastal erosion.
Filling those wetlands to build new homes could cause flooding and shoreline erosion, as well as sky-high flood insurance rates that could make it im- possible for some citizens to keep their existing homes. Southeastern Brunswick County also includes natural heritage areas with rare species of plants and animals – some endangered.
Our area is a mecca for retirees and vacationers because of its beaches, historic towns and natural beauty. Local businesses depend on this. And citizens who care about these things have a right to be heard as part of the process in which towns consider development plans.
Our local towns have a duty to negotiate with developers, sometimes extensively, in order to adequately take ac- count of complex situations that involve competing interests. No easy task. Rules that are not designed for our coastal area, rules with quick (no exceptions) cut-off time-frames for town approval of devel- opers’ plans would be disastrous here.
Every one of our area’s representatives in Raleigh should stand with us on this one. And all of us should let them know just where we stand.