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Nov 01

Question 11: Is the UDO Rewrite Eliminating Conditional Use?

Posted on November 1, 2017 at 12:41 PM by Waxhaw Communications

QUESTION 11: Is the rewrite eliminating conditional use? Didn’t we use that to stop what “we” don’t want? 

ANSWER: This is where cleaning up definitions will be a big help.

Conditional use permitting is zoning that applies specifics to the site in question, beyond what the simple zoning category calls for. The Town moved away from conditional use zoning in 2009, however we still have properties like Cureton Town Center and Prescot Commercial with prior conditional use zoning. The original intent of these types of rezoning’s was to define standards, not stop growth. The original idea behind it was that while a local government approves of the use (e.g. gas station, drive through, etc.), some reasonable conditions may be applied but are very limited. And can lead to unintended consequences.

For example, as part of the initial visioning by the Town, gas stations were approved as a use for Cureton Town Center (2003) and Prescot Commercial (2006) and thus allowed legally. Even though ownership of the land changed, state law prohibits a governing body from requiring a new or amended use when ownership changes. It is why gas stations are being built in those centers. And if a developer wishes for something beyond what the Conditional Use Permit provides for, they are required by law to apply for a change. Depending upon the change the zoning administrator determines if it is minor – and is handled by staff – or major and must come to the Town Board. A prime example - the land behind the ABC Store – where changes were asked for and denied.

The UDO will minimize – but not eliminate – the need for conditional districts which are still permitted by law. .