Sunday, May 19, 2024

114 West Elm Street
Graham, NC 27253
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Beware rural zoning


County commissioners and some of the Snow Camp residents who are pushing them in this direction may want to take a deep breath and consider twice the potential implications of establishing four “zoning districts” in the far southern reaches of Alamance County.

We understand fully the irritation and frustration of many Snow Camp residents who did not like discovering, only after the county bureaucrats had approved it, that a mining operation had been approved in their quiet, rural corner of the county.

But whether instituting after-the-fact zoning will have any beneficial intended consequence is very questionable in our judgment. The unintended consequences of opening the door to rural zoning may pose even more headaches, in Snow Camp and elsewhere, than the stone quarry has.

Alamance County’s rural residents have historically been adamant that they did not want “countywide zoning,” that would bring many of the rules, regulations, and perceived excesses associated with municipal zoning designations.

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Now, the county’s planning department has laid out potential zoning districts for the commissioners’ consideration.

At a minimum, the commissioners need to have some hearings, possible workshops, and other informational sessions so that people will know what they might be getting themselves into.

And these should come before commissioners are asked to enact anything permanent.
Residents in other rural areas of the county should also be alert to what is currently being discussed for Snow Camp. The history of such well-intentioned ideas is that they spread – even when not requested.

While some Snow Camp residents, especially those closest to the proposed mining site, may have become more sympathetic to the concept of zoning in rural areas, we very much doubt whether other rural residents, in Snow Camp and around the county, will be so enamored.

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