Planning board advises zoning entire county

Published 3:53 pm Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The motion was approved during discussions regarding the commissioners&squo; request for the planning board to work on regulations to control big box and chain business development.

Regulations to control such businesses would have to be instituted through the county zoning ordinance. Ennis asked what the point of developing such regulations was if they would be in effect in only about half of the county ‐ the part that now has zoning.

Polk County currently has zoning in the townships of Tryon, Columbus, Saluda and Green Creek, while the townships of White Oak and Coopers Gap remain unzoned. The issue of zoning those townships arose a few years ago, but commissioners did not zone the townships because of opposition from the majority of the residents living there. The issue has stirred much controversy in the past.

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Polk County Planner Cathy Ruth said there are a few ways that Polk could regulate developments such as big box, including creating zoned corridors on major highways where such development would most likely occur. Several board members seemed in favor of the corridor zoning for the regulations.

Stone said the task of controlling chain businesses is too broad and asked board members to think about businesses such as Subway, Ace Hardware, True Value and many mom and pop stores, which couldn&squo;t exist. Board members said commissioners need to be more specific about the regulations they want for chain businesses.

Commissioners have said they don&squo;t want big box development in Polk County and want to protect the county&squo;s small businesses.