Onslow Commissioners have authorized the purchase of a 12-acre parcel that could help expand the Jacksonville High School site. The Commissioners were meeting in a regular session Monday, February 21, 2022, and in other action rezoned about 269 acres of land in three parcels across the County.
Jacksonville High School has the smallest amount of acreage for any high school in Onslow County and has the highest student population. The acreage will provide opportunities for traffic flow as recommended by the NC Department of Transportation, increase parking spaces for students and staff, and provide for future needs such as additional athletic facilities.
Commission Chairman Jack Bright questioned Onslow County School’s Chief Operating Officer, Steve Myers about the benefit for parking. He indicated the property will help with efforts to abate traffic and student interaction problems.
The School Board received an offer to pay $500,000 for the site and asked the approval from the Board of County Commissioners which was unanimously given. Questions about the schools were part of a public comment made as the Commissioners considered two rezoning requests in the White Oak area.
The request made on behalf of Marvell H. McDowell to rezone a parcel on the southeastern side of Rocky Run Road in the White Oak Area from Rural Agriculture to Residential 15. The 27.87-acre site is currently vacant and other residential developments are nearby. The classification of the requested rezoning would allow medium density single family residential housing.
The one speaker inquired about investment into the area including schools. The Commissioners called on Steve Myers of Onslow County Schools to discuss some of the early plans for additional capacity in the area.
The Onslow County Planning Board voted to recommend the McDowell rezoning allowing development. The vote to approve was 6-1 with Commissioner Robin Knapp dissenting.
A second public hearing was a request to rezone 229.42 acres on both sides of Uzzell Road, also in the White Oak area. The request is also to rezone from Rural Agriculture to Residential 15. The area is currently used for single family and agricultural uses and the proposed zoning would allow single-family housing development.
Concerns about the number of homes to be built on the property, drainage from the property and the impact of schools was discussed by a speaker.
The Onslow County Planning Board has also recommended this rezoning. The Commissioners heard from the development representative who indicated only about a hundred homes would likely be built on the site.
A third rezoning request could allow a medical office to be built in Burton Park. The staff-initiated request will rezone an 11.67-acre site from Highway Business to Office and Institutional which would limit the types of business that could operate there. The area is on the south side of the Park after the Public Safety Memorial. The proposed rezoning has also been endorsed by the Onslow County Planning Board. It was unanimously approved by the Board of Commissioners.
The Commissioners also heard a report about Onslow Memorial Hospital finances. The Hospital’s auditor, Kevin A. Leder, CPA from CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, declared the report as a clean review.
A proclamation for Black History Month was presented to the Community Advisory Committee. That is a group which helps the community connect to the County government.
The Board also approved the acquisition of a park built by a private entity in the Hubert area. The one-acre site was developed as a park by Pluris Webb Creek which offered the County a $10 a year lease for the park which includes playground equipment and exercise equipment. The park was constructed as part of a development where it is located and named Camp Tillis after Senator Thom Tillis by the developer. After ten years, the County could purchase the property for $1. The County’s Parks and Recreation staff has determined that the park equipment is of commercial grade and suitable for use in a county park facility.
Commissioners also approved the acceptance of additional funds for Senior Services to increase the in-home care provided for seniors.
Members of the Onslow County Community Advisory Committee accepted a proclamation on Black History Month as part of the meeting. The County has several entities which have been presenting on Black History month throughout February.
A public hearing also considered a request from Coastal Carolina CPR LLC which is doing business as American Ambulance Service. The company was requesting a franchise to provide non-emergency transportation within Onslow County. This does not affect the Onslow County EMS system. The company, based in Holly Ridge, is new but has a franchise to operate similar services in Pender County. A favorable recommendation was given by the Onslow County Peer Review Committee which is recommending the award of the franchise.
As the Onslow County Albert Ellis Airport has a new fire truck funded by a Federal Aviation Administration grant, the Airport asked the County Commissioners to declare the old truck surplus. It was approved.
A new auditing firm for the County was also approved. The current firm has indicated they would no longer doing audits of local governments and the County put out a proposal for a new firm. The County approved the Martin Starnes and Associates firm to perform the Fiscal Year 2022 audit for $89,500. The firm is currently providing audit services to 25 other governmental entities in North Carolina.
Commissioners also approved an increase in funding offered as part of a grant to reduce the number of seniors requesting in-home services. The grant from the Department of Aging and Adult Services would provide an additional $46,301 to fund one additional Certified Nursing Aide position to provide these in-home services to seniors. A grant match is required which is already budgeted. Commissioners will consider accepting the additional grant amount.
Also approved were a series of budget amendments and appointed Sherrie Hancock to the Swansboro Planning Board as the Extra Territorial Jurisdictional representative.
Items on the consent agenda approved included a release from a deed of trust that has been satisfied, and changes in the authorized signers for financial records.