The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday March 29th

Aldermen discuss unified development ordinance

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen voted unanimously Tuesday night to continue discussion of a proposed ordinance that will simplify and streamline current county regulations related to property-development.

Perdita Holtz, member of the Orange County Planning and Inspections Department, said the Unified Development Ordinance combines six existing development ordinances into one and updates specific regulations regarding property zoning, flood damage and erosion control.

“The goal is to create a UDO format using existing standards and language to the greatest extent possible,” Holtz said, “and to eliminate contradictions in former drafts of the ordinance.”

Several residents have shown concern that the revised zoning laws will negatively impact the rural buffer, the transition between urban and rural areas on the outskirts of Carrboro.

“Folks who are in the rural buffer contacted me and felt like they would be in a loophole essentially,” said alderman Randee Haven-O’Donnell.

But Holtz said the rural buffer would not be compromised by the new zoning rules and would still be protected under the new document.

“There isn’t much change from the current process,” Holtz said. “There really is no change to how (the ordinance) will impact the rural buffer. “

Mayor Mark Chilton said that if the ordinance is adopted, residents on the outskirts of town might be concerned that they would have no option to fight the rezoning rules.

“It seems to me that if you’re the neighboring property owner and the county commissioners approve the zoning, it is extraordinarily difficult to come back in court and overturn the rezoning,” Chilton said.

The planning board released the first draft of the ordinance in August, allowing county residents to provide feedback on the document.

The public review process has included seven public outreach meetings between October and November, with the next public hearing scheduled for Jan. 27.

Holtz encouraged interested residents to attend the Jan. 27 outreach meeting and said they would receive more in-depth information about the new regulations.

Following the public meeting, county residents and representatives will have until Feb. 2 to provide additional input on the proposal. The planning board will then meet to discuss adoption of the ordinance and will extend the timeline if necessary.

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