All land in Forsyth County is zoned for one use or another, and most vacant tracts in GMAs 3 and 4 are already zoned for single-family residential. Unfortunately, this zoning pattern makes it difficult to hold land for future industrial and employment centers. One subdivision built in a large tract of vacant land can make it unsuitable for a future employment center. This issue has left few areas in our county for large-scale business development.
Given the limited amount of Serviceable Land Area we have left, what are the tools we need to preserve land for future industrial development and jobs?
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An e-mailed response:
Perhaps proactive rezoning.
The trouble with rezoning is that is can potentially have negative effects on property owners. If they want to sell or use their land for thing, but are not able to due to zoning restrictions, the owners may feel that they are being given an unfair economic disadvantage. If land needs to be designated for industrial or commercial purposes, then it is important to work with property owners to find the right buyers.
Quit allowing the residental developers to dominate all access to property. There are so many houses on the market, do we really need new construction? Rezone to attract businesses, and develop in such a way that once the businesses are here, there will be available land for residental, cause those workers will need to live somewhere, and it will keep traffic down as well. Rezoning is not a terrible thing, and reuse of old industrial property needs to be carefully scrutinized. There are many large industrial buildings in Winston Salem that are in terrible shape. Make the owners update, raze or rebuild!
Stop sprawl. We should not extend any public water and sewer utilities into areas not already served by these utilities. We should not allow any private or public ventures to build water and sewer utilities into these areas. Public services should be limited to existing municipal areas and avoided in future growth and rural areas. The “future growth” designation of Union Cross should be reduced in size to the areas already served by public utilities. No more industrial parks should be developed on farmland. Instead, re-development inside city limits near existing four-lane highways and rail should be paramount. It was a folly to annex and build DELL and environmentally foolish to put Caterpillar in an area away from previously improved Interstate highways and railroad service centers as public funds must now be used to improve and maintain roads for heavy traffic. If Cat had been built near the railroad yards, it would have saved public funds, prevented air pollution and revitalized downtown where W-S folks could have walked to work. Sadly, about 85 percent of the axles built at Cat will be shipped to Canada so we missed a grand “green” opportunity to use our existing rail system.
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