The UDO (Unified Development Ordinance), the County’s zoning guide, was discussed quite a bit during the recent primary.
The discussions were interesting and the new candidates had new ideas to bring to the table. But, I believe the suggestion made by a couple of candidates that we have an East UDO and a West UDO would be divisive and unnecessary. There are already tools in place to distinguish the differences in the different areas of our county, without separating us with two sets of rules.
A couple of years ago, when development was at its peak and East Lincoln was being bombarded with helter skelter zoning requests, it was evident that this area wanted and needed added tools to address its rapid growth. The County Planners and the Planning Board (which is made up of citizens from all parts of the county) met with people from East Lincoln to listen to their problems. Public input meetings were held. With the input from developers, citizens, businesses and planners, the Eastern Lincoln Development District was created. It has unique tools that work alongside the UDO, but pertain to and create answers for the uniqueness of East Lincoln. Also, by using the ideas given to the County Planners by the people who live in that area, the NC16 Corridor Vision Plan was created. It addressed problems and found solutions specific to Highway 16. Both of these documents are guides with special zoning tools just for East Lincoln.
District and overlay areas as described above are tools in zoning that have been around for a long, long time and are used specifically to set an area apart by its unique and different topography and growth patterns.
If the people in West Lincoln would like farmland preservation or to distinguish areas that are special to West Lincoln, an Overlay District or a West Lincoln Development District will do whatever the citizens that live in that area want it to do. This district could be used to strengthen or loosen zoning to fit West Lincoln’s needs. It will reflect what the people in West Lincoln want to happen in the future to their land without dividing us into East and West.
The UDO is a relatively new document that is not perfect and will continue to change as we grow as a county and as we find areas to fine tune, add, delete, strengthen or weaken.
We can use the tools that are already in place and available to hopefully put forward the best aspects of the different parts of our county without there being an “East UDO” and a “West UDO.”
Lincoln County’s strengths are in its uniting, not in dividing.
Chairman, Lincoln County Planning Board
Soon, the North Carolina legislature will reassemble in Raleigh for the short session where significant progress regarding the support of public schools can be made. Lincoln County’s local chapter of Eta State, a division of The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, is calling on our legislators to address what we believe are critical issues impacting our school district. The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International is an organization of women educators whose mission is to promote professional growth of women educators and excellence in education. Our chapter has studied the effects of the 2013 budget on our local system and finds that the failure to improve educators’ salaries alone endangers Lincoln County Schools’ ability to attract and maintain excellent teachers. North Carolina’s poor showing in this area has already caused the exit of teachers in Lincoln County; therefore, we urge legislators to increase teachers’ salaries. Second, the loss of teacher assistants in the lower grades along with the increase in teacher/pupil ratio has made the challenge of teaching and learning even more difficult. Third, eliminating a small increase in pay for successful completion of graduate degrees stunned most educators, who could not understand why such an initiative to promote life-long learning would be removed. Finally, ending the Teaching Fellows program eliminated an extremely successful pipeline for attracting some of the best and brightest college students into the teaching profession.
We encourage Rep. Jason Saine and Sen. Dr. David Curtis to reconsider their positions regarding these issues and to cast their votes for legislation which will support local schools and local educators by addressing these specific issues. We encourage other members of the community, who appreciate the efforts of our school system, to contact legislators. Nothing could be more important than educating all of the children of Lincoln County for what is sure to be a challenging future!
Elaine D. Jenkins, Ed.D.
President, Delta Sigma Chapter
47 current and retired educators