There are few advisory panels as insecure in their work as the Zebulon Planning Board. It’s not unusual to see them talk an issue to death, then hesitate for painfully long periods of time before someone steps up to offer up an answer to the question at hand.
Most recently, they were asked to make a recommendation on a rezoning request that would allow a developer to move forward with plans for a new subdivision along Old Bunn Road.
The development has drawn criticism from neighbors who worry that it will change the nature of the surrounding community. And, while that argument is true, it’s not a strong enough argument to prevent the developer from moving forward.
Planning board members, despite their hesitancy, finally recommended, in a 3-2 vote, that town board members approve the rezoning request.
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And, now we hope commissioners will do just that. As the town considers its tax base, Zebulon officials know how lopsided the town’s tax base is. A great deal of the town’s tax base rests in industrial development. And, while that is the kind of development that brings the highest revenue to the town, it’s never a good thing to have too many eggs in one basket.
With this request, town commissioners have the opportunity to help diversify, at least in a small way, the town’s tax base.
There are still opportunities to address the concerns of neighbors and commissioners should look for ways to accommodate all parties.
But it would be a mistake to dismiss the request based on the argument that it will change the character of a neighborhood. In truth, we’re talking about adding residential property in an area where residential property – albeit at a lower density – already exists.
And if commissioners were to buy that logic, it stands to reason that most any proposed development could be passed over because it will change the character of the existing neighborhood.