UDO committee approves MRPO amendments to allow for special uses in certain zoning districts

Published 4:29 pm Monday, January 30, 2012

Polk County’s Unified Development Ordinance committee voted Thursday, Jan. 26 to approve amendments to the Mountainside Ridgeline Protection Ordinance (MRPO).
Saluda city commissioner George Sweet thanked the UDO committee for their work, but implored members to think carefully about their next steps as they look into loosening some MRPO restrictions.
“I’m very much in favor of ridgeline protection,” Sweet said, “but Saluda Township is not a ridgeline … you can’t see Saluda from down below. I encourage you all to allow as much flexibility as possible for development in Saluda Township.”
After recent discussions that the MRPO was too restrictive, particularly in relation to areas around Saluda, committee members looked at altering the ordinance to allow some permitted uses, some special condition uses and some conditional uses.
Committee member Renée McDermott made the motion to exempt the use restrictions from the MRPO in the following zoning districts: Highway Commercial (HC), Residential (R), Agricultural Residential (AR) and Neighborhood Commercial (NC).
The UDO committee then replaced those use restrictions with the following specifications on what could be allowed:
Permitted uses would include arboretums, conservation areas, greenbelts, greenways, churches, synagogue, temples or other religious buildings, natures preserves, produce stands, pedestrian and bicycle trails and home occupation class II.
McDermott also motioned that home occupations in this class should be confined to an accessory building of no more than 1,000 square feet. The limit had previously been discussed at 8,000 square feet.
“Going up to 8,000 square feet in the mountain ridgeline area would just be a tremendous amount of impermeable roof area,” McDermott said. “It would be really harmful in the runoff it would make and in the earth moving it would take to put that in.”