Nash extends sites for airstrips


By Lindell John Kay
Staff Writer

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Private airplane landing strips are now allowed in Nash County residential neighborhoods.

The Nash County Board of Commissioners approved a text amendment to the county’s unified development ordinance during its most recent meeting allowing airstrips almost anywhere provided provisions of a special use permit can be met.

County ordinances already allowed for private landing strips and flying fields in agricultural, institutional, commercial and industrial planning zones. The amendment opens up airstrips to residential areas as well.

Thomas Troyer, a commercial crop-dusting pilot, requested permission to construct a small landing strip on his property to hangar planes with the purpose of doing repair and maintenance work during off seasons. Troyer's land is zoned residential.

The approved amendment to the R-40 single-family zoning text now allows private airfields, provided applicants meet certain standards:

■ Furnish a scaled site plan depicting the location and dimensions of the landing strip, including required setbacks.

■ Restrict use of the landing strip to the owner and authorized guests only.

■ Non-commercial use only, except by the owner.  

■ Inclusion of proper documentation by the state.

■ Meet setback restrictions and keep lights off the airstrip.

In response to board questions, County Planning Director Nancy Nixon said buffers are not required.

“The primary intrusion is more likely the noise of landing and takeoff,” Nixon said.

The county doesn't receive complaints about noise from residents living near the commercial airport in Rocky Mount, so the private strips shouldn't be a problem, Nixon said.

The board approved the amendment after adding language requiring the main user of the airstrip to live on the property.

The Nash County Technical Review Committee unanimously recommended approval of the proposed changes and the Nash County Planning Board recommended approval in a 6-1 vote.