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Originally published: 2014-01-29 09:56:21
Last modified: 2014-01-29 09:57:07

Changes to ordinances proposed

by Allison Haver

The Watauga County Planning board discussed county ordinance amendments on Monday.


The amendments were proposed by the Watauga County Planning and Inspections department and were needed due to recent legislation changes.


During the 2013 session of the North Carolina General Assembly, one significant legislative initiative was a comprehensive modernization of the statute regarding quasi-judicial decision-making and boards of adjustment.


"This piece of legislature went through both houses and was unanimously approved," said Planning and Inspections director Joe Furman. "It's a good thing they did, because it hadn't been amended since it was adopted in the teens or early 20's," he said.


The legislation not only applies to actions taken by any board acting in a quasi-judicial capacity but also applies to any ordinance dealing with land use or development, even those adopted under general ordinance making authority, such as non-zoning ordinances.


Considering Watauga County has adopted several non-zoning ordinances that provide for administrative reviews of staff decisions, such as appeals, or requests to vary conditions of the ordinance, the new legislation requires amendments to those ordinances.


The affected ordinances included:

- Ordinance to Regulate High Impact Land Uses

- Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance

- Ordinance to Regulate Junkyards and Automotive Graveyards

- Ordinance to Regulate Wind Energy Systems

- Ordinance to Govern Structures on Land Adjacent to National Park Service Land

- Ordinance to Govern Subdivisions & Multi-Unit Structures

- Ordinance to Regulate Signs

- Height of Structures Ordinance

- Manufactured Home Parks Ordinance


The planning board unanimously approved the decision to recommend the proposed amendments to the county commissioners.


Furman said that he would present the amendments of the ordinances during the next commissioners meeting and recommend a public hearing.


"It's county policy to hold public hearings before making any changes to any ordinances," he said.


A report sent to the board from the planning and inspections department, said the commissioners' approval of these amendments is considered both reasonable and in the public interest because the county is obliged to comply with state law.


The Watauga County Board of Commissioners holds regularly scheduled meetings on the first Tuesday of each month at 8:30 a.m. and the third Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m.