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Originally published: 2013-12-06 12:08:33
Last modified: 2013-12-09 10:43:14

Public hearing on Boone UDO Dec. 11

by Anna Oakes

The public will soon have an opportunity to provide input to the Boone Town Council on the adoption of a revised Unified Development Ordinance -- a process three years in the making.


The council will hold a public hearing on the revised document beginning at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 11, at the council chambers at 1500 Blowing Rock Road. Following the public hearing, the Boone Planning Commission will meet to make recommendations on the document, and the Boone Town Council will consider adoption of the revised UDO at 8 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 16.


A copy of the final UDO draft is available at the Boone Planning & Inspections Department at 680 W. King St. Suite C, as well as online at http://www.townofboone.net/departments/development/index.php.


Following two and a half 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 October.


Town planning staff say the revision has been more about reorganizing the document than making substantive changes to town land use policies, but a number of procedural changes are proposed in the draft.


"This is not a wholesale rewrite as much as it is a restructuring of the ordinance," Boone Planning & Inspections Director Bill Bailey said in October. Bailey noted that after adoption of the revised UDO, staff would begin a more intensive review of each UDO article.


Planning staff have said that they hope to increase the number of uses that are permitted by right and decrease the number of uses that require a special use permit, which requires a public hearing and board of adjustment approval.


Following are several revisions and proposed changes to the UDO.


Organization: The revisions to the UDO have included clarifications of definitions, elimination of inconsistencies and redundancies and restructuring of articles by topics.


Types of uses: Many new types of uses have been added to the Table of Permissible Uses -- such as breweries, moped sales and community gardens -- and changes to some existing uses in zoning districts have been recommended.


Table of Permitted Uses: In the revised Table of Permissible Uses, a "P" -- instead of a "Z" in the old table -- indicates a permitted use. In addition, staff created a new designation in the table called "Permitted Subject to Limitations," which is signified by an "L." An "L" indicates that a use shall be permitted by right provided that the use meets additional requirements as outlined in the table.


Transitional zones: Depending on the use, planning staff have suggested transitional zone sizes of 50, 75, 125, 200 and 300 feet. Transitional zoning districts are areas close to low-density residential zones. If a proposed development falls within a transitional zone, -- indicated by a "T" in the UDO's Table of Permissible Uses -- the developer must apply for a special use permit and address plans for mitigating any potential negative impacts, such as noise or lighting.


Occupancy controls: Under the revised UDO, residential occupancy by more than two unrelated persons is prohibited except in zoning districts MH, R3, B3, M1 and U1 -- where occupancy by up to four unrelated persons is permitted. The current UDO requires special use permit approval by the board of adjustment for occupancy by four, five or more unrelated persons.


Single-family homes: Single-family homes are no longer a permitted use in all business zoning districts and R3 multi-family districts.


Stormwater plans: Single-family home projects are now required to submit a stormwater plan to the town.


Certificates: Depending on the type of project, a developer could be required to obtain one or more of the following prior to receiving a zoning permit: certificate of compliance, certificate of occupancy, certificate of completion or certificate of zoning compliance. The certificates are tools developers can use to demonstrate progress to clients, financiers and other stakeholders.


Non-conforming developments: The revised UDO creates a graduated process for bringing nonconforming developments into compliance with the UDO. Article 8 of the revised UDO establishes four tiers of compliance requirements that are triggered by the cost of the proposed new development. Under the current UDO, major repairs or renovations of nonconforming structures estimated to cost more than 50 percent of the appraised value of the structure are required to come into full compliance with the UDO. The draft makes an exception for alterations or new structures that repair or replace nonconforming structures damaged by fire, flood, wind or other "act of God."