Town of Clayton sets environmental example

(photo by Johnston County Visitors Bureau)

A new city council in the Town of Clayton has voted to bring back a steep-slope ordinance removed by previous, developer-friendly council, voting to provide the town’s residents with protections for their properties and waterways.

Sediment pollution of our waterways is the number one issue we see across our region, and protection of steep slopes greatly reduces erosion and sedimentation and provides protection of adjacent properties during development. The Neuse River and its tributaries have been greatly impacted by sediment pollution from the expansive growth and development over the past 50 years. Not only does sediment pollution impact the quality of streams and rivers, smothering aquatic habitat and reducing fish populations, but it also negatively impacts the quality of drinking water sources, increasing costs for treatment, as well as increasing the cost and burden of maintaining stormwater infrastructure.

The intent of resource conservation areas (RCAs), which include 100-year floodplain, stream-buffer areas and jurisdictional wetlands, is to:

  • Protect natural resources
  • Preserve visual and aesthetic qualities of the town
  • Encourage site design techniques that preserve natural environment
  • Enhance the developed environment
  • Control erosion, slippage and sediment runoff into streams and waterways
  • Protect wildlife and migration corridors

The council voted Tuesday night to amend the Unified Development code and revise the town’s Resource Conservation Area section to include steep slopes.

Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Jill Howell said it’s encouraging to see a town council take action to preserve water quality.

“Council took the initiative to recognize the value of the environment, and that’s awesome. They did not choose the most restrictive, environmentally friendly option, but they passed the ordinance, I believe, unanimously,” she said.