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Group of Local Leaders Proposes Alternative Special Use Permit Process

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New Hanover County
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New Hanover County currently has one special use permit for all industries. Local leaders are looking to change that.

Local government representatives are joining with environmental advocates and business leaders to create an alternative to a controversial recommendation from the Garner economic development report. Instead of doing away with the special use permit process, they hope to cut the red tape for some industries.  

Obtaining a special use permit—or SUP—is often the first step in starting a new business—and bringing jobs to the area.  New Hanover County currently has one SUP process for all companies.  But environmental advocate Mike Giles says the North Carolina Coastal Federation is proposing the creation of a two-tiered system: 

"Tier One would be for all the industries that the Garner report identifies that are targeted, that we want for our community.  Let’s give them an easy vehicle to get their permit, to come here, set up shop and hire people, and create jobs.  For the small, one-percent of heavy polluters, that should be a Tier Two of very vigorous review where local officials have the chance to ask the hard questions. "

An independent consultant is reviewing the current process and will guide the development of a new SUP approach.  The next step is to form a group representing all sectors of the community--including business leaders, local professionals, and community members--to cooperatively work towards this goal.  Giles says he hopes to see the Chamber of Commerce come to the table.  

To get involved in the process, contact Mike Giles at mikeg@nccoast.org.