Planning board to consider steep slopes, White Oak rezoning

Published 12:36 pm Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Meeting Feb. 14 at 5 p.m.

The Polk County Planning Board will be discussing a new proposal for a steep slopes ordinance and a rezoning request made by White Oak development on Feb. 14.

The meeting will be held at the Womack building in Columbus at 5 p.m.

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The planning board will consider a new steep slopes ordinance following the board of commissioners rescinding the county’s mountainside and ridgeline protection ordinance (MRPO) and not approving a former steep slope proposal recommended by the planning board.

The new draft ordinance gives a trigger of 30 percent slope where the building inspector has to inspect a site. Also gives homeowners a way to appeal.

Commissioners earlier this year directed the planning board to come up with wording to direct the building inspector to inspect a building site once a permit is applied for in order to determine if an engineer is needed.

The proposed ordinance by giving a trigger of 30 percent slope would mean that the building inspector would not have to inspect every building site early, only the ones on a slope of 30 percent or greater.

“Prior to issuance of a building permit and/or zoning compliance, a Polk County building inspector shall perform a site visit. The building inspector is to determine whether a professional engineer’s evaluation would be required for the work proposed at the site,” states the draft ordinance.

The draft includes that the ordinance would be in effect countywide. Exemptions for land disturbing activity include for agriculture, forestry, alterations and replacements of single-family dwellings and minor land disturbing activities 1,000 square feet or less.

Also on the agenda is the planning board’s first discussion of White Oak Plantation’s rezoning request.

The request is for the county to amend its zoning ordinance and zoning map to establish an equestrian zoning district permitting uses consistent with mixed-use equestrian developments. The rezoning includes several large, contiguous tracts within the approximate 1,000-acre development recently purchased by Tryon Equestrian Properties LLC. The request from the developer says the district seeks mixed-use development and incorporates many of the uses permitted in the other districts and encourages development of a pre-existing subdivision into a premier international equestrian lifestyle destination as defined in the proposed development agreement.

The planning board and commissioners have been given a draft development agreement from White Oak that includes plans for 800 dwelling units, including single-family residential and clustered multi-family condo/townhouses. Plans also include a hotel, a 6,000-seat stadium, a heliport, winery/vineyard and a 100-unit retirement facility.

The development is located off Pea Ridge Road in the Green Creek Township.