SWANSBORO, ONSLOW COUNTY - An Onslow County town may be facing some major changes in its development. Residents had a chance to speak up on the issue Thursday.
Swansboro city leaders are trying to determine size restrictions on future construction.
It's an issue that came up with the Board of Commissioners when an unknown company asked to develop 150,000 sq feet, according to town manager Dave Harvell.
After Walmart put in an application to build a store, the board enacted a 90 day moratorium on any new construction over 40,000 sq feet, Harvell said.
Harvell said it allows the board to have time to determine the best way for the city to grow.
"Do we want to be a small friendly city by the sea, or a small friendly city by the sea with a lot of commerce?" Harvell said.
The debate on building limitations has sparked a lot of interest to residents, especially with the chance of Walmart coming. Town leaders expected a full house at the hearing Thursday.
The Board of Commissioners plans on deciding the town's new construction limits by August 18.
The Hampton Inn, Swansboro Baptist Church, and Swansboro Methodist Church are a few of the buildings in Swansboro that are larger than 40,000 sq. feet.
Harvell said enacting this potential ordinance would restrict large structures such as strip malls, medical centers, and large retail outlets from being built; however, it would keep the small town feel.
There are exceptions to the potential large structure ordinance. A developer can exceed 40,000 square feet if they work with the city to make sure the construction benefits the area. Officials said an example of those benefits include providing green space or bicycle paths.
Eighteen months ago, the Board of Commissioners decided on a similar issue regarding height restrictions. The board decided to keep the height limit for buildings at 35 feet -- with selected areas allowing 40 foot tall buildings.