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Minutes from March 17th Chatham County Sub-committee meeting on interim zoning

April 21st, 2015 · No Comments

Date: Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:30:28 -0400
From: Gene Galin
Subject: Minutes from Chatham County Sub-committee meeting on alternatives to open use zoning for unzoned areas of the county

March 17, 2015

In attendance: Chair George Lucier, Gene Galin, Caroline Siverson, Barb Ford, Bill Arthur, Tandy Jones

Public Input:

Jerry Markatos stated that he has been proud of the community spirit in Chatham and regrets the tone that the public debate on zoning has taken and asks all involved be respectful of each other as important decisions are made. He supports the efforts of the planning board on zoning and land use.

Gail Crider lives and farms in unzoned Chatham and as a retired realtor worries that her land values are not protected without zoning. Supports zoning.

Veronica Remy has lived in unzoned Chatham and is not adverse to development but believes it should be planned and deliberate.

Cindy Swensen is not in favor of zoning and believes that fears of heavy industrial uses are overstated and that with freedom comes responsibility.

Craig Swenson stated that we should not look to government for protection but that we should elect leaders and representation that will protect us.

End of public comment.

Chair George Lucier explains the sub-committee’s charge*

• The subcommittee is to consider alternatives to the open use zoning option that was being considered by the previous BOC

• Sub committee recommendations will go to the Planning Board

• The Planning Board will then make recommendations to the BOC

• There is another sub-committee that is to make recommendations to the Planning Board on an updated Land Use Plan

• There will be many opportunities for public input

Types of zoning designations and permitted uses explained and discussed

• Interim Zoning

o Short term zoning option with a set time limit. Would be used until a landuse plan in developed.

• Agriculture and silvaculture is exempt from all zoning regulations

o A farmer or timber operation cannot in any way be prevented from using their land for farming and timber cutting. They would be exempt from any zoning regulations unless or until they choose to change the use of that property to something other then residential or agricultural.

o Farm related businesses that occur on farms to supplement farm income would be identified and allowed as part of an exempted farming operation.

• R1 zoning is a basic residential zoning that allows for subdivision of aprox 1 dwelling per acre. Agriculture is exempt from any regulation in R1 and thus a permitted use but any commercial or industrial uses would have to apply for a rezoning.

• Minor subdivision rules would be no different then they are now under the subdivisions rules meaning that landowners could continue to subdivide up to 5 lots for family or for sale without being impacted by zoning.

• Large lots over 10 acres are exempt from sub-division ordinance and will see no change under zoning. No county review necessary.

• R1 zoning allows for a minimum of 40,000 square feet per dwelling, R2 allows for 90,000 square feet per dwelling and R5 allows 5 acres per dwelling. These designations are based on watersheds.

• R1 is the least restrictive residential zoning and is consistent with subdivision rules already in place county-wide.

• Home occupations will be allowed as rural home occupations and subject to some limits.

o An example of a home occupation was given of a landscaping business that does not have onsite employees even if employees come on site for equipment etc.

o Existent home occupations would be grandfathered as would existent commercial and industrial uses.

o Any use that is in continued use and doesn’t lapse over 365 days can continue regardless of ownership and expansion.

o Zoning is only concerned with the land use, not with land ownership.

• Open use zoning is the least restrictive choice but has shortcomings.

o Everything is permitted in this zoning except for a predetermined list of uses not permitted.

o This requires careful consideration and anticipation of all undesired uses.

o These high impact uses would require a conditional use permit.

o Standards must be met and it would entail a semi-judicial review and public hearing

€¢ The distinction between quasi-judicial and legislative review is discussed

o While quasi-judicial review relies on expert testimony and forbids input outside of the public hearing, standards must be met and the commentary of adjacent and community members has significance.

o Legislative review is more subjective and commentary is not restricted to public hearings only.

• The option of developing a heavy industrial ordinance instead of zoning was discussed

o Alamance county uses such an ordinance to regulate heavy industrial use. Towns are zoned, the county is not and so the ordinance is applied countywide.

o Such an ordinance can actually be more restrictive then zoning.

*Discussions on alternatives to zoning the entire county at one time.*

• The unzoned areas that lie to the south of Pittsboro and immediately adjacent to the Chatham Park development lands are the counties most vulnerable.

• These areas could be zoned R1 at this time leaving other areas unzoned for now.

• Alternatively the areas adjacent or close to Chatham Park could be zoned R1 at this time and the rest of county covered with an open use zoning.

• Threats to the unzoned areas include quarries and coal ash landfills.

o Without zoning quarries require no BOC approval

o It is unclear whether of not the county is preempted by the state regarding coal ash dumps.

o There are 12 abandoned clay pits in the unzoned areas. These could be considered as coal ash dumpsites in the future.

*The practicalities of zoning are discussed.*

• Expense for public notices

• The zoning can be implemented and existing uses can be dealt with later.

*Next steps*

• George will create a list for next meeting of the options discussed

• Staff will chart out a simple table so that pros and cons can be compared.

• Examples will be included as well as information on the review process and how surrounding counties use zoning.

*Next meeting set for April 21st, 6:30 at location TBA*

Tags: 27312 · Development · Government · Pittsboro

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