Repealing MRPO against county’s comprehensive plan

Published 6:44 pm Thursday, February 7, 2013

Commissioners approve statement of inconsistency

Polk County’s new board of commissioners’ action of rescinding the former mountainside and ridgeline protection ordinance (MRPO) went against the county’s current comprehensive plan and required commissioners to approve a statement of inconsistency.

During a meeting held Monday, Feb. 4, commissioners approved a statement by a vote of 4-1 explaining their actions.

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Commissioner Ray Gasperson said he voted against approving the statement saying he wanted to remain consistent since he also voted against repealing the MRPO without replacing it with a proposed steep slope ordinance.

According to the N.C. Institute of Government, zoning regulations shall be made in accordance with a comprehensive plan and when adopting or rejecting any zoning amendment, the governing board shall also approve a statement describing whether its action is consistent with an adopted plan. The statement should also briefly explain why the board considers the action taken to be reasonable and in the public interest.

Commissioners’ statement said repealing the MRPO is not consistent with the county’s 20/20 comprehensive plan, but the board considers the action to be reasonable.

“The board considers the action taken to be reasonable and in the public interest because the building inspector currently has the authority to require an engineer report at a site, and having him perform a pre-site assessment visit could possibly save the homeowner and the builder money,” state’s commissioners’ statement of inconsistency.

During its Jan. 7 meeting, commissioners repealed the MRPO and did not approve a steep slopes ordinance that the planning board recommended. Commissioners instead directed the planning board to create new verbiage that directs the building inspector to do a pre-site inspection of a building site in order to determine whether or not an engineer is necessary.

Gasperson said Polk’s 20/20 comprehensive plan was award winning and if the county had adopted the proposed steep slope ordinance it would have been consistent with the plan.

The county’s 20/20 comprehensive plan has three sections where repealing the MRPO is inconsistent.

Section I-47 of the comprehensive plan states that as necessary, the county should revise and update the Polk County MRPO.