Alamance County’s planning board has decided not to recommend a zoning plan for Snow Camp to the county’s board of commissioners.
During a meeting on Thursday, the planning board voted 11-to-1 to scuttle the continued development of a zoning ordinance for this rural, unincorporated community after a 70-minute public comment period that drew much opposition to this proposal.
The meeting was held in the second-floor courtroom of the county’s Historic Court House in downtown Graham.
Thursday’s meeting was the third in the past month that has elicited an outpouring of objections to the prospect of zoning for Snow Camp.
These protests prompted a subcommittee of the planning board to call for a bare-bones version of the zoning ordinance, which the county’s planning director formally presented to the subcommittee’s members immediately before the full planning board’s gathering on Thursday. The planning board’s subsequent vote effectively kills any additional work on that draft.
In spite of its vote not to recommend zoning to the commissioners, the planning board voted to leave the subcommittee in place in order to “beef up” the county’s existing restrictions on Class III heavy industries.
The planning department’s decision several years ago to approve a new stone quarry in this area of the county had initially prompted calls for greater regulation to prevent such a thing from happening again.
But residents gradually turned on what many considered to be regulatory overreach in some of the provisions of the proposed zoning regulations developed by the county’s planning director, Tonya Caddle, and a consultant hired by the county to assist in the process.
The board made this decision to work on the heavy industries component of existing county policies in the same vote that squashed the zoning ordinance’s continued development.
Planning board member Bill Poe cast the lone vote against this two-part motion.
About 25 residents spoke during more than an hour comment period prior to the board’s vote. Speakers were disproportionately opposed: 11 opposed to any degree of zoning, three in support. But another topic, the county’s exploration of new regulations on mobile home and RV parks, drew the ire of about ten speakers.