Revised Boone UDO adopted
by Anna Oakes
A unanimous vote by the Boone Town Council wrapped up a three-year revision of the town's Unified Development Ordinance on Monday.
The council, Boone Planning Commission and town planning staff held dozens of meetings in efforts to reorganize the UDO, including its Table of Permissible Uses.
"I think (those involved) have done an amazing job," said Councilwoman Lynne Mason. It wasn't a rushed project. I think we really tried to reach out to the community."
In adopting the ordinance, council members made a few minor modifications to the document, including the addition of a provision to mail notifications to affected property owners when a zoning case has been continued.
The revisions include clarifications of definitions, elimination of inconsistencies and redundancies and restructuring of articles by topics.
The Table of Permissible Uses lists many new types of land uses and outlines specific limitations for various uses -- an attempt to permit more uses by right instead of requiring a special use permit, which entails a public hearing and Boone Board of Adjustment approval.
The table also incorporates transitional zones, which the council created in 2010 to add additional protections for low-density residential districts. If a proposed development falls within a transitional zone, indicated by a T in the table, the developer must apply for a special use permit and address plans for mitigating any potential negative impacts, such as noise or lighting.
"I would encourage council to pay close attention to those transitional zones because so many things are allowed by right," said Councilwoman Jamie Leigh, an outgoing council member.
Outgoing Mayor Loretta Clawson agreed.
"We really, really need to watch that," Clawson said. "Neighborhoods are just so important to this town."
Other changes to the UDO include amended permit application procedures, new levels of triggers for bringing nonconforming properties into compliance with UDO requirements and a new option allowing developers to use a building footprint in lieu of the floor area ratio in calculating density.
The council, Planning Commission and planning staff worked on a tight schedule to hold a public hearing and schedule adoption prior to the swearing in of new council members on Tuesday. Council members earlier this fall expressed concerns that waiting to bring new council members up to speed on the UDO revisions would further delay its adoption.
The new UDO becomes effective Jan. 1, 2014. With its adoption, the town will begin a more intense review of the policies and regulations within each UDO article.