Saving the County

The Vision of the Brunswick County Commissioners

The North Carolina State Ports Authority selected the site for the proposed North Carolina International Terminal in part because it was zoned for heavy industry.

The recent land use plan developed by Brunswick County under the auspices of the Coastal Area Management Act includes extensive analyses of the suitability of various parts of the County for development. Large areas of eastern Brunswick County, including many listed as important Natural Heritage areas, have been identified as unsuitable for various reasons, mostly ecological sensitivity and often incompatibility with adjoining uses, yet have been zoned for heavy industry. Those sensitive areas have so far been spared development for industrial uses, but the County government vigorously pursues such development.

Land use in Brunswick County is examined in the Brunswick County CAMA Core Land Use Plan, prepared by Holland Consulting Planners, inc,. and adopted by the County in 2008. This document and the related exhibits can be found on the Web site for Brunswick County.

The analysis of land use in the consultant’s report and the future land use map adopted by the County do not match. The consultant’s report is thoughtfully and thoroughly done, with full consideration of smart development to enhance the human environment of Brunswick County and to preserve unique and valuable ecological resources. But the future land use map is inconsistent with those objectives. It includes a very large area zoned for heavy industry comprising environmentally sensitive forests, upland marsh, and estuarine salt marsh adjoining residential areas and schools. This is a stunning case of land use incompatible with land characteristics and incompatible with adjacent uses which the process of land use regulation should prevent. The conflict between analysis and result suggests manipulation and calls into question the integrity of the land use planning process in Brunswick County.

Click here for a brief examination of this situation.