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Originally published: 2013-11-01 11:14:43
Last modified: 2013-11-01 11:30:18

Council wants UDO adopted before Dec. 17

by Anna Oakes

The Boone Town Council moved on Wednesday to schedule a special public hearing and council meeting to ensure the revised Unified Development Ordinance is adopted prior to the swearing in of new council members in December.


Boone Town Council members Andy Ball, Rennie Brantz and Lynne Mason voted to schedule a public hearing on the revised UDO on Wednesday, Dec. 11, beginning at 4 p.m.; a Planning Commission meeting on the UDO immediately after the public hearing or the following day, depending on members' schedules; and a special meeting of the Boone Town Council on Monday, Dec. 16, at 8 p.m. for consideration and adoption of the UDO.


The regular monthly council meeting is scheduled for Dec. 17 at 6:30 p.m., with newly elected council members being sworn in at the start of the meeting.


Council members Jamie Leigh and Allan Scherlen were absent from the meeting on Wednesday, which was held in conjunction with the Planning Commission to review the UDO draft once more before scheduling a public hearing.


Staff said it would be challenging to complete final legal reviews and edits of the document in time for the advertising deadline for the public hearing -- state law requires that notice of a public hearing must be published at least 10 days before the hearing date.


"You have to have a finished product before you advertise the public hearing," said town attorney Sam Furgiuele, who still needs to review about half of the UDO draft and incorporate changes enacted by the state legislature this year. "This is a fast push at the end."


Boone Planning & Inspections Director Bill Bailey said he estimated it would take staff three to four weeks to finish revising the document. But Mason urged council members and staff to press forward to get it done, expressing concerns about leaving the task of adoption up to a new council that has not been through the three-year UDO revision process, which began in fall 2010.


Bailey said he was concerned that bringing a new council up to speed could take an additional year -- in a "worst case scenario."


"We have been working on this three years -- then to have to do it with a whole new council, that's just unacceptable to me," Mason said. "I've been pushing this all year, (saying,) 'let's keep this process moving.' All we do, we have these meetings, and it's delay after delay."


Following 2.5 years of staff revisions and discussion and feedback by the Boone Town Council and Planning Commission, the town hosted three public workshops on the UDO in February, March and May, followed by additional review meetings in July, August and on Wednesday.


The Council Chambers could see many new faces after the Nov. 5 election. Three seats on the Boone Town Council are open, and the town will also elect a new mayor, as current Mayor Loretta Clawson is retiring. In addition, Councilman Andy Ball, whose seat is not open this election, is among those running for mayor. If Ball is elected, the council will appoint someone to serve the remaining two years of his term.


One change the council directed staff to include in the revised UDO draft on Wednesday was the requirement for single-family home projects to submit a stormwater plan. Currently, single-family home projects are required to adhere to the town's stormwater requirements but not to submit a plan. Bailey said the change could be worded so as not to require an engineering report, however, which could be expensive.


Bailey noted that after adoption of the revised UDO, staff would begin a more intensive review of each UDO article.


"This is not a wholesale rewrite as much as it is a restructuring of the ordinance," he said.


The council also scheduled another joint meeting with the Planning Commission on Tuesday, Nov. 12, at 6 p.m. to discuss UDO language on transitional zones.


To view a draft of the revised UDO, visit http://www.wataugademocrat.com.