DOBSON — The public will have a final chance to review and comment on the county’s Land Use Plan next Monday, a week before it will go before the Board of Commissioners for possible adoption.
The plan will be available when the Surry County Planning Board gathers for its regular meeting at 6 p.m. in the Board of Commissioners Meeting Room at the county government center in Dobson.
According to County Planner Kim Bates, the document, Lane Use Plan 2020, is designed to address emerging land use issues and conservation strategies. It is being updated to include current economic factors like the 60 percent decline in manufacturing jobs in the county since 2000; the doubling of the unemployment rate in the county since 2004 and the slowing of residential development.
The proposed plan takes these, and more, economic factors into account, and tightens down on the amount of land designated as rural growth areas, according to Bates.
“The idea is that times are tighter economically,” he said during an earlier unveiling of the plan. “Money is tighter, so we’re reducing the acreage available for commercial development because the county might not be able to provide water, sewer and other services to such large areas like those in the existing plan.”
County officials note that the county updates its land use plan roughly every five years, and it is being done in conjunction with the release of federal census data.
Updates to the county’s comprehensive land use plan are also encouraged by many state and federal agencies, and a comprehensive land use plan can factor into grant money for potential economic development opportunities.
The county’s current plan was adopted by the Board of Commissioners in October 2006.
In other business, county planners will consider a proposal by Jolo Winery and Vineyards LLC, to expand their property on Pilot Power Dam Road and construct a winery/tasting room/restaurant on the property.
Bates said the proposal, “looks like an attractive development proposal for the Pilot Mountain Area.”
County administrators are also proposing changes to the county’s zoning ordinance that would relax the current regulation of the outdoor storage of materials in rural districts.
“This is a nod toward the prevailing culture of large-lot land use, and the traditional perception of property rights in the rural, less dense areas of the county,” Bates said.
If approved by county planners, the move could be set for a public hearing during their September meeting.