Saluda approves new Ozone Drive district

Published 8:00 am Saturday, November 3, 2018

Commissioners make some exemptions prior to vote

SALUDA — The city of Saluda officially has a new Ozone Mixed Use zoning district.

The Saluda Board of Commissioners held a special meeting Thursday, where, after making a few changes to the proposal, approved the new district.

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“The new Ozone Mixed Use District anticipates future growth along Ozone Drive as a key interstate gateway to our charming historic downtown,” said City Manager Jonathan Cannon. “It envisions the Ozone Drive gateway as a mixed-use corridor where people enjoy neighborhoods with homes, professional services and daily needs.”

The new district did not come without controversy. The Saluda Planning Board recommended the changes and several meetings were held, with some residents in disagreement with some aspects.

Some residents presented letters and a petition during the city’s October meeting, and commissioners decided that much of the contention was from proposed berms, or vegetative buffers. Commissioners decided last month to delete the requirement of berms for new developments from the proposal.

During its Thursday meeting, commissioners also decided to exempt the requirement to place sidewalks in front of existing structures that build an accessory structure for their main building. If someone who owns a single-family residence along Ozone Drive builds a shed or garage on their property, they will not be required to build a sidewalk as well, as the original ordinance proposed.

Cannon said for existing structures, if the property changes hands and the land use and main structure remains the same, there will not be a requirement for the property to come into compliance with the new zoning ordinance.

New developments will, however.

“All of this is within walking distance to the historic downtown where the heart of the city is filled with restaurants, shopping, festivals and the quaint charm of small-town friendships,” Cannon said.

The planning board recommended the new district after being tasked by the previous board of commissioners to create a district for future growth.

Saluda held a public hearing on the district on Sept. 12 and had 60 days to approve the new ordinance.

Cannon said the full ordinance with maps will be placed on the city’s website.