Polk looks to amend subdivision ordinance

Published 4:46 pm Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Polk County Board of Commissioners is considering amending its subdivision ordinance to delete wording that refers to the unified development ordinance (UDO) and the mountainside and ridgeline protection ordinance (MRPO) since the UDO was never approved and the MRPO was rescinded last year.

Polk approved a new subdivision ordinance at the same time as it was developing a UDO, which would have combined all the county’s ordinances into one document. After the new subdivision ordinance was approved, a new board of commissioners rescinded the county’s MRPO and stopped work on the UDO after many residents in the county expressed their opposition to both documents.

Commissioners met Monday, March 17 and set a public hearing on the subdivision ordinance amendments for its April 7 meeting, which begins at 7 p.m.

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Polk County Planner Cathy Ruth said a few months ago commissioners asked its planning board to review the subdivision ordinance.

On Sept. 9, 2013, commissioners requested its planning board review the density within the cluster development section of the subdivision ordinance to determine if better incentives are needed, to clean up the language in the environmental checklist point system and to review the environmental checklist point system to determine if it needs to be amended.

The planning board met on March 15 and unanimously approved recommending that commissioners amend and enact an ordinance to modify the subdivision ordinance amending language of inconsistencies.

Recommended changes to the subdivision ordinance include deleting section two, 4.6 where the ordinance asks developers to “note all lots or building sites with an elevation of 1,650 ft. or 2,250 ft. above sea level or greater, or as required by the mountainside ridgeline protection ordinance.”

Other recommended changes are to delete any reference to the UDO or UDO administrator and the MRPO. The majority of commissioners rescinded the mountainside ridgeline protection ordinance on Jan. 7, 2013.

Residents from Saluda were particularly opposed to the mountainside and ridgeline protection ordinance because it prohibited commercial building at elevations 1,650 ft. and above, which encompassed all of the Saluda Township. The county planning board at the time recommended a new steep slope ordinance to replace the mountainside and ridgeline protection ordinance, but the majority of commissioners said they wanted to simplify the procedure, directing the county building inspector to do an early inspection on steep slopes to determine what measures need to be taken for construction.

To view all recommended changes to the subdivision ordinance amendments go to polknc.org, where the draft document can be found in the planning and zoning department at the ordinance icon under plans and drafts.