Polk to hold three public hearings on Monday

Published 9:35 pm Thursday, November 16, 2017

County to consider rezoning, sign ordinance and wireless amendments

COLUMBUS – The Polk County Board of Commissioners has scheduled three public hearings for Monday, Nov. 20 to hear comments on a rezoning of property, sign ordinance amendments and wireless communication amendments.

Commissioners met Nov. 6 and heard from county planner Cathy Ruth on all three requests.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox


Zoning amendment


James Bradford Foster, of 45 John Foster Rd., Columbus (off Skyuka Road) has requested four parcels be rezoned from RE-1 (residential estate) to Multiple Use.

The four parcels total 11 acres.


The Polk County Planning Board voted 6-0 to recommend to commissioners to adopt the map amendment to the Polk County zoning map, but for only some of the parcels. The planning board voted for only a portion of P46-56 and P46-57 to be rezoned, or approximately two acres of the total 11 acres requested.


Ruth said the RE-1 zoning was put into place in the late 1990s and was requested by the community.


Commissioner chair Tommy Melton asked if the entire right side of Skyuka Road (going towards Tryon) is RE-1 and there is no MU zoning on that side. All of the county zoned property along Skyuka Road is RE-1.


Melton spoke of the increase of uses that would be allowed in MU that are not allowed in RE-1, including convenience stores. One of the uses that would be allowed in MU zoning that is not allowed in RE-1 zoning is the rental of the mobile home that is on Foster’s property.


Commissioner Ray Gasperson said this is an individual who had a mobile home for a family member.


Ruth said in 2009 Foster requested rezoning for a mobile home. The county created an overlay district, which included Foster getting a conditional use permit based on a hardship for a family member. The county board of adjustment approved the conditional use permit. Once the hardship is over, the conditional use permit is no longer valid, Ruth said.


Melton clarified that the hardship no longer exists because the family member no longer lives there.


Melton then asked if the hardship no longer applies, why is the county considering a public hearing to change it.


Ruth said because the county received a request to rezone the property.


County attorney Jana Berg said the county has a mechanism in place where a citizen can request a rezoning, pay a fee, go to the planning board and it is the county’s responsibility to hold a public hearing and send notice to nearby property owners and advertise the public hearing. After the public hearing, commissioners can vote to approve or deny the request.


Wireless telecommunication amendments


The county will also hold a public hearing to make minor changes to its telecommunication ordinance. Ruth said there has been new case law on telecommunication regulations and the county needs to bring its ordinance into state compliance. One change drafted is that the board of adjustment will have to oversee the ordinance instead of the planning board because the ordinance now needs a quasi-judicial process.


Sign ordinance amendments


The county’s last public hearing Monday will be on amendments to its sign ordinance. Berg said the sign ordinance amendments are also based on recent case law. Basically, the county can no longer regulate the content of a sign, just its location, size and type of sign.


“The bottom line is if there’s a sign outside, (the county) can’t tell you what kind of sign it is,” Ruth said. “All (the county) can do is regulate the size of it and the place of it and the type of it. We can’t regulate what is on it.”


The public hearings will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the R. Jay Foster Hall of Justice, located in the Womack building in Columbus. The county’s regular meeting will follow the public hearings.