The Bedford County Planning Commission voted to pass a favorable recommendation on a resolution that would place a six-month moratorium on all major subdivisions and planned unit …
The Bedford County Planning Commission voted to pass a favorable recommendation on a resolution that would place a six-month moratorium on all major subdivisions and planned unit developments.
This would allow the planning commission to study potential amendments to both the Zoning Resolution and Subdivision Regulations. The moratorium only applies to developments that include more than five individual parcels.
The moratorium has to go before the Bedford County Board of Commissioners when they meet next month before it is approved.
“It gives us a chance to be able to work on some things without being inundated with plans and reviews...so we can study our rules, look at what’s working and what’s not working,” said zoning director Chris White.
Some of those issues include looking at flag lots, storm water detention, roads, and STEP systems.
The discussion of flag lots took up most of the Tuesday study session’s time. They have been an issue in the zoning rules for several years, according to White. “The way people were designing flag lots, they would have houses stacked on top of each other, sometimes two to three deep,” White said.
For example, there are a couple of houses on Longview Road that meet the minimum criteria but from the road look like they overlap.
White said they changed the minimum road frontage from 50 feet to 100 feet. “If it had 100 feet of road frontage, there would be more room to not stack the house,” he said. According to White, the houses that have this narrow look are the hardest ones to sell typically.
“These homes, if allowed to be built that way tend to be the least desirable homes in any subdivision,” White said. He added that these homes have the potential to then become rental properties if they are unable to be bought.
“We have an overabundance of affordable housing,” White explained. “So, one of the things we try to do is equalize that housing product so we can have a more normal ratio of affordable housing versus moderate price homes.”
He continued, “When you look at that demographics issue, from a planning perspective, it doesn’t seem like that is a situation that we can tax our way out of. That’s a situation we have to plan our way out of.... We get there by making smart decisions at this level.”
The planning commission also talked about requiring plans with a STEP system to be managed by a public utilities company (like Adenus) and for drainage ponds to be fenced, which would also act as a safety precaution. White said they would also like to require a set of drainage plans be attached to every plat submitted.
One requirement that zoning may investigate is requiring the developer of larger subdivisions to have an HOA (homeowners assolciation). Generally, a developer will create a nonprofit (which is what an HOA is) and begin collecting the dues. When all the lots are sold, the HOA goes to the residents to manage.
However, if the HOA dissolves/liquidates, White suggested, “the stormwater detention features and fixtures of the subdivision must be fully bonded by the governing body of the HOA...” If not, each homeowner is liable for damage of a failed stormwater system.
“So, there’s every motivation for everyone to want to take care of these things,” White said.
These are only a few of the rules and changes the commission hopes to study in the next several months. The Planning Commission’s next meeting is set for Dec. 27 at 7 p.m. at the Bedford County Courthouse.
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