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INSPECTION & ZONING UPDATE

PAGE 3

County Land Development news UNIFIED DEVELOPMENT ORDINANCE AMENDMENTS:

Catawba County adopted a comprehensive re-write of its land use regula- tions (zoning, subdivision and abandoned vehicles) on February 5, 2007. This document is known as the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). When the UDO was adopted by the Board of Commissioners, staff indi- cated that it would reevaluate the ordinance and identify areas which justi- fied modifications based upon practical application over the course of ap- proximately one-year. Using input received from the Southeastern Cham- ber of Commerce, the Chamber of Commerce Land Use Development Committee, developers and citizens, staff compiled a list of approximately 40 items recommended to be amended. The amendments were presented to the Board of Commissioners who adopted the amendments on October 20, 2008, which went into effect immediately. The amendments remove several ambiguous terms and standards, provide clarity, afford more flexibility and options to the developer, streamline the review and approval process, and allow alternative landscaping design based upon environmental concerns.

Following is a brief overview of changes to the UDO that relate to zoning permits and projects:

Increase height limitations in all zoning districts as follows: Residential – 45 feet Office/institutional – 45 feet Rural commercial – 45 feet Highway commercial – 70 feet Industrial – 70 feet

Reduce number of plantings and allow more flexibility in landscaping standards for parking lots, drive-

ways, perimeter buffer, street trees and foundation plantings. Increase wall signage requirements to 10% of the wall surface or up to a maximum of 75 square feet

(from 32 square feet maximum), whichever is less. Allow Light-Emitting Diodes (LED) signs without a setback requirement. Allow uses which were previously prohibited in the Mixed-Use Corridor Overlay (MUC-O) subject to

standards. warehouses.

Examples of uses now allowed are auto repair, vehicle sales, dry storage and mini-

Allow ribbed paneling as accent material on buildings in the MUC-O, comprising no more than 25% of

the building face area. Allow accessory structures (i.e. outbuildings) to have a 5-foot separation from the house instead of a 10-

foot-separation. Allow swimming pools to have a 5-foot separation from the house instead of a 10-foot separation.

Decks are no longer considered part of the house in terms of measuring the separation requirement.

For details on the ordinance amendments, you may contact the Planning, Parks & Development Depart- ment at (828) 465-8380 or visit the Planning Department’s web site at: www.catawbacountync.gov/depts/ planning/

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