by Caroline Siverson
Pittsboro, NC – Here are the notes from the meeting of the Chatham County planning board’s sub-committee on alternatives to open use zoning that took place on June 16, 2015 in the Dunlap classroom in Pittsboro.
John Graybeal remarked that he is an owner of a farm in the unzoned area of the county. That he had contacted the planning director of Henderson County who told him that they had implemented open use zoning in the past and that they had transitioned from open use to traditional zoning in 2007; the implication being that open use was not an effective land use policy as development pressure increased. He stated that his opinion of zoning is that it is protection.
Wayne Sears stated that he owns over 1000 acres of timber lands, questioned the rush to zone the entire county and stated that more facts about zoning are needed. That he wanted to clearly understand why zoning was being considered and urged the committee to listen to those who had been here a long time. He stated that he is concerned about development and could be convinced that zoning is a protection but needs more facts.
George Lucier assured Mr. Sears that a fact sheet was being drafted for the purpose of informing citizens about the how and why of zoning and the reasons for its consideration at this time.
George addressed the single agenda item – the list of zoning options that are being proposed as recommendations to the Board of Commissioners. He suggested a few edits to the pros and cons document.
Bill suggested that the term interim zoning was confusing and suggested that the term could be defined at the beginning of the document but that it should be taken out of the list of options. The concern being that interim zoning would be incorrectly perceived as having an automatic sunset date.
Gene suggested that the idea of individual ordinances to address high impact uses such as shooting ranges should be reconsidered instead of zoning. The option to regulate heavy uses by ordinance had been discussed and dismissed at a previous committee meeting and did not generate interest at this time.
The board agreed that Bill would ready the draft zoning options document for presentation to the full planning board at their next meeting on July 7. It was the general feeling of board members that it was not appropriate for the individual subcommittee members to articulate their individual opinions regarding the options and that it was time to engage the planning board in the discussion. Committee members who are not on the PB were encouraged to attend the July 7 planning board meeting.
The process for the zoning initiative going forward was outlined by George Lucier, who explained that the Chatham planning board would now take up the matter, would consider the options put forth by the sub-committee, would take public input during their meetings and would make recommendation to the Chatham County board of commissioners. There is no predetermined timeline for this and that it would take however long it takes. He once more assured members of the public that there would be ample opportunity for public input during the remainder of the process.
Caroline Siverson reported that she was working on a fact sheet and gave a brief description of the content thus far. A discussion followed by board members with suggestions for content. It was reported that the draft fact sheet would be completed by the July 7 planning board meeting and that a final draft would be available for publication in local media and the county website after review by the planning board and the board of commissioners.
The subcommittee agreed that their work was complete and that this concludes their deliberations on the matter of alternatives to open use zoning. It was agreed that they would reconvene if required to.
Caroline Siverson is a member of the Chatham County planning board.