Here are the ways folks in western Chatham are going to be screwed by county-wide zoning

By Jeff Lane
Pittsboro, NC – Just thought I’d share some of the things you can’t do because Dear Leader Karen Howard and her friends don’t care what YOU have to say on the issue of Zoning, because They know better than a bunch of yokels who aren’t as “enlightened” as they are.

farming tractorAccording to the Zoning Table of Permitted Uses:

No Alcoholic Beverages manufacturing.  Sorry, if you like Bear Creek Brews and want your own nano-brewery, too bad.  Go deal with your zoning overlords.

No Antique Shops.  Sometimes you find some amazing treasures in small mom/pop antique shops that are found in old barns or garages in someone’s back yard when riding through the country.  Well, now those guys need special permission.  No more “Picking” for you.

Appliance sales and service.  I presume that means “on-site”.  I’d hate to imagine that a home-based appliance repair business now runs afoul of the Zoning Bureaucrats.

No more Art Supply Retail Sails.  Sorry potters.  You can no longer sell pottery supplies from your home studios without special zoning permissions from El Jefes.

Arts and Crafts Fabrication.  If you’re R1, nope.  If you’re R5, well, you can get a conditional use permit from the Zonemasters.  If you’re an aspiring artist and want to avoid the expense and hassle of the zoning quagmire about to befall us, you better open shop NOW.

Assembly Halls.  I guess if you want to build a new community center as a community, it’s time to ask permission, and hope you get approved.

Assembly of Ammunition, for small arms only, from previously prepared parts.  So if you enjoy shooting, which is quite popular in the rural south, no more hand-loading.  It’s prohibited in R1 and R5.

Assembly of machines, appliances and goods from previously prepared parts. I know a couple guys locally who repair old lawn mowers and resell them to make some money to live on.  No idea what they’ll do now, because this is prohibited in R1 and R5.

Beauty Shops.  Are you a hair-dresser or beautician who has a shop at home?  Maybe you fall under the Home Business exception, maybe not.

Blacksmith or Horseshoeing shops.  Blacksmithing is an ancient art.  But no blacksmithing, it’s prohibited.

Bottling works for soft drinks.  Wonder if that includes bottled water. It’ll be hard to sell the old Smith Water Plant once the whole western county is zoned R1 or R5.  I presume the current owners are filing to have their properties zoned otherwise.  Sorry for your hassle.

Candy products manufacturer.  No more sweet treats for sale at First Sunday, unless you have zoning permission to manufacture those at home.

Coffee Roasting.  Wonder where people are getting their locally roasted beans.

Duplexes.  I find it curious that you can put a duplex on an R1 lot but not on a much larger R5.

Eating and Drinking establishments.  No more lemonade stands, kids.  Das Ist Verboten.

Florist – greenhouses, cultivation facilities and warehousing for wholesale and related retail sales. No more growing pretty flowers to sell. Interestingly, Later on it says “Horticulture” is permitted.  Seems a bit of a conflict here.

Gift Shops.  Not sure if there are any of these in the unzoned areas, but when we travel west to the Smokys, we always enjoy stopping and small road-side gift shops for unique local flavor.  I guess no one will be buying local Chatham County gifts (except in retail locations approved by the Powers that Be).

Heating, Plumbing, Electrical, cabinet and similar shops.  I presume this means retail sales of supplies, otherwise, there are going to be a LOT of contractors who work out of a truck parked at home that are going to need to beg permission to continue doing what they’ve been doing for years.

Jewelry and watch sales and service.  Maybe this falls under Home Business?  Otherwise, a lot of you crafty people who sell at First Sunday are going to run afoul of the Zoning Cops.

Landscaping and Grading business.  Aren’t there several of those already in the unzoned areas?

Leather Goods Manufacture EXCLUDING tanning.  Nope, no more leather crafts (again, maybe home business exclusion?  Better be sure you’re on the right side of the law).

Mulch – grinding, screening, mixing, blending, processing and dyeing.  If you clear your land, you better not mulch the wood for later use.

Open-air sales or displays from a temporary building or structure.  Having a yardsale and under a tent?  NO SALE FOR YOU.  Church sale? Nope.

Photographic Studios, camera shops.  Sorry artists.  your home based photo studio is not allowed without permission from the Cary/Chapel Hill contingent.  Getting into photography?  Too bad.  Start begging permission.  (The studio tour is starting to sound like it’ll be pretty light in coming years).

Pottery, (hand crafted) and related retail – no more new pottery shops without hoops and begging permission.

Pottery, porcelain and vitreous china manufacture.  Again, no pottery.  I’m sure there are exceptions, better start asking now.

Private Recreation Camps.  Want to set up your own campground?  Sorry.  No es bueno.

Public and Private schools, training and conference centers.  (does the Zen Center count?) I know a couple places that teach gun safety and firearms training out in the rural parts of the county.  We all know how much Chapel Hill LOVES firearms safety training and practice.

Tobacco processing and storage.  Are you a tobacco farmer?  Hope your farm is big enough to be considered a real farm.  Because this is prohibited.

Woodworking Shops.  Unless you’re a hobbyist, but again, another prohibition of studios for artisans.  No woodworking shops.

There are ways around these, and there is a “Home Occupations” allowance. But guess what?  You STILL have to ask for permission to work from home, can only use no more than 25% of the heated space in your home, AND have to pay for a permit.  All to do what you’ve been doing already.

But that’s all well and good, because Chapel Hill and Cary know what’s best for us out here in rural Chatham County.