STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA                                          BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

COUNTY OF HENDERSON                                                                                  JULY 11, 2001


The Henderson County Board of Commissioners met for a special called meeting at 9:00 a.m. in the Commissioners= Conference Room of the Henderson County Office Building at 100 North King Street, Hendersonville, North Carolina.


Those present were:  Chairman Bill Moyer, Vice-Chair Marilyn Gordon, Commissioner Grady Hawkins, Commissioner Don Ward, Commissioner Charlie Messer, County Manager David E. Nicholson, County Attorney Angela S. Beeker, and Clerk to the Board Elizabeth W. Corn.


Also present were: Public Information Officer Chris S. Coulson, Assistant County Attorney Jennifer O. Jackson, Planning Director Karen C. Smith, and Planner Nippy Page.



Chairman Moyer called the meeting to order and welcomed those in attendance, stating that the purpose of the meeting was to review and work on the zoning ordinance which is in the process of being rewritten.  The Board has a draft from the Planning Board under consideration. 



David Nicholson reminded the Board that this is the second workshop on this issue.  In January 2001 the Board had a presentation from the Planning Board and the Consultant who helped with the new Zoning Ordinance that the Board is now reviewing.  Open Use in its early form is included in this draft ordinance.  Since the January workshop, there has been substantial work done on open use zoning.


Ms. Smith and her Staff have prepared a AMajor Issues List@. The list highlights some of the major changes in the philosophy of this ordinance.   The list will serve as a starting point for discussion of the draft Ordinance for this workshop.  An important item that is not listed on the AMajor Issues List@ because it is more of an administrative item is the need for the draft to be updated to reflect the zoning amendments related to the Open Use District adopted in May of this year.  Staff and the Consultant attempted to add such amendments as they existed in draft form prior to October 30, 2000, while preserving the format of the new draft Ordinance.  Because of the new format, Staff will need some time to make sure that all of the new amendments are accurately inserted into a new draft.  Staff would be happy to prepare for a future workshop a new draft of the Ordinance with the Open Use amendments and any other items that the Board of Commissioners may request.  As with any amendments to the Zoning Ordinance, substantial changes that result from discussions of the Board of Commissioners will need to be referred to the Planning Board for review and recommendations.


In addition to the major issues, there are also a number of minor issues that Staff and the Board will need to discuss at some point.  Some of the minor issues may be resolved as a result of direction from the Board on major issues.  Other minor issues concern items that have been brought to the attention of Staff and/or the Planning Board since the October 30, 2000 draft was completed.

In response to Board direction, in March of 2001 Staff distributed copies of the October 30, 2000 draft of the Zoning Ordinance to all of the entities that participated in focus group meetings on the Zoning Ordinance held in August of 1999.  In addition, they sent letters to the citizens that participated in public input sessions on the Zoning Ordinance (also held in August of 1999), informing them that copies of the draft were available from the Planning Department.  The Planning Department asked that individuals send any comments on the draft to the Board of Commissioners.  Staff was not aware of any specific comments that may have been submitted to the Commissioners.


AMajor Issues List@

Mr. Nicholson asked Karen Smith to review the Major Issues List with the Board. 


1.               R-8 District vs. R-6 District

The draft Ordinance proposes an R-8 district but there was a question at the January workshop as to whether there is enough difference between the R-10 and R-8 districts.  An R-6 district was briefly discussed.


Following discussion, it was the consensus of the Board (for the purpose of moving forward) to go with R-6 and R-10 districts.


II.        Allowing manufactured home parks (MHPs) in Manufactured Home Park Overlay Districts vs. Allowing them in base districts.

Rather than listing MHPs as permitted, conditional or special uses in certain base zoning districts, the draft proposes they be regulated through overlay districts (except in OU, where they are a use by right subject to standards).  MHP Overlay Districts must be mapped on the Zoning Map and MHPs have to meet development standards (which came from the MHP Ordinance), one must apply for a Zoning Map amendment.  The Board of Commissioners may want to discuss use of the Overlay District as the method for determining where MHPs are allowed or if MHPs should be listed in certain base districts as uses by right with standards, conditional uses or special uses.


Following discussion, it was the consensus of the Board to allow MHPs with regulations by right in certain districts and stay as a conditional use in some districts.  Staff will make a recommendation as to which districts.


III.       Allowing manufactured homes on individual lots in all residential districts (subject to standards, except in MU and OU)

In setting objectives for the new Zoning Ordinance, the Board of Commissioners asked that the draft allow manufactured homes in residential districts on single lots with aesthetic standards.  The draft accomplishes this by allowing single-section manufactured homes on individual lots in the R-8 and R-10 districts subject to standards and multi-section manufactured homes on individual lots in the R-8, R-10, R-20, and R-40 districts subject to standards.  Manufactured homes are allowed by right with no standards in the MU and OU districts.  This is a major change from the current Ordinance, therefore the Commissioners may want to discuss whether they are satisfied with the text as written.


Following much discussion, Staff was directed to look at options to deal with old districts vs. new districts.  Chairman Moyer asked Staff to explore not changing the current residential districts but yet build flexibility into the areas where they would be looking to apply zoning. Staff was asked to offer the Board some options.  There was much discussion regarding the age of the units. Pre-1976 units = mobile homes.  The Board was leaving open what districts they would allow manufactured homes in  with or without aesthetic standards.


IV.       Definition of Church

The draft includes a definition of church which requires that certain associated church uses (daycare facilities, schools, clinics, thrift shops, etc.) would also have to be permitted in districts that allow churches in order for a church to conduct such uses.  In addition, such uses would require a permit separate from that of the church.  The intent of the definition was to ensure that churches were compatible with the other uses in the districts that permit them.  At the 1/9/01 workshop, the Commissioners discussed taking another look at this issue at a future workshop.  According to the consultant who assisted the County with the draft of the new Zoning Ordinance, other ways to approach this issue include: (1) specifically adding to the definition the uses that churches may conduct by right; or (2) changing the definition to read: AA structure (or structures) and the parcel on which it is located, used for religious purposes.@  In addition to the definition, Staff recommended that the Board review the Table of Uses (p.75 in the draft) regarding the districts that allow churches.


It seemed to be the consensus of the Board not to include activities in the definition of church in the draft ordinance.


Much discussion followed.  Angela Beeker recommended clarification that any activities operated by a church be treated the same as the church. This would help with enforcement.  


Commissioner Gordon stated that she would like some input from the churches/pastors in the County. Commissioner Messer agreed.


Chairman Moyer asked Ms. Beeker to write something and bring it back to the Board regarding her recommendation and the concerns of the Board raised here today.  The Board wants to limit commercial enterprises from hiding behind a church to avoid regulations.   The Board was comfortable with churches as they currently know them in Henderson County.


22.            Open Space Requirements for Residential Developments

At the 1/9/01 workshop, a question was raised regarding the requirement that residential developments with 10 or more dwelling units set aside open space/recreation area in an amount equal to 10% of the total project area.  The Board may want to discuss open space requirements being needed and if so, what the requirements should be.


Following discussion, the Board felt that the number of dwelling units as well as density should be considered.  It was felt that if individual lot sizes were small, there was no where for children to play and therefore the developers should provide open space for that purpose.  There was some discussion regarding Adensity bonuses@ as well as ASmart Growth@. 


Ms. Smith stated that there was a need to look at the PUD section because there are no specific densities for doing a PUD, it is based on comprehensive plan in the area and water and sewer.  There are open space requirements for that section referring you back to the open space section.


VI.       Locations for Nursing and Convalescent Homes

Nursing and convalescent homes are allowed as Special Uses in the OI and the MU districts and by right in the OU district.  There was a question at the 1/9/01 workshop as to whether such uses should be allowed in more districts.  The Board may want to look at other districts and determine if nursing and convalescent homes should be in them and if so, in what manner (by right with standards, conditional use, special use, etc.).


Following discussion, the Board wanted Staff to look at other districts where they could be compatible either by right or with special or conditional uses.


VII.     Inclusion of Special Use Districts (SUDs)

The draft includes provisions for establishing SUDs, a concept which is not contained in the County=s existing Zoning Ordinance but which the City of Hendersonville has been using for several years.  A SUD involves a rezoning of property and approval of a Special Use Permit for a specific use.  SUDs would allow the County to have the ability to rezone for specific uses, rather than rezoning to an overall district in which any of the uses listed in the district would be allowed.  The Board should consider whether or not it wants to allow this development concept.


Commissioner Gordon stated that she was not sold on this issue.  AIt=s  a legal maneuver to get around spot zoning@. The City of Hendersonville spends a lot of time issuing special use permits.


Chairman Moyer stated that he was in favor in certain areas.  He asked Staff to look at Guilford County (who uses SUDs) and how it works for them.  The Board will revisit this when they have more information.


VIII.    Repeal of Manufactured Home Park Ordinance, Communications Tower Ordinance, and Water Supply Watershed Protection Ordinance

The draft, which was prepared prior to Board action on zoning amendments related to the OU District, assumes that zoning would be applied countywide.  Therefore, the draft incorporates the provisions of the Manufactured Home Park, Communications Tower and Water Supply Watershed Protection Ordinances.  For example, the Water Supply Watershed Protection Ordinance standards have been used to create a Watershed Protection Overlay District (WP District) that would be applied to land in the County=s designated water supply watersheds.  The standards from the Manufactured Home Park Ordinance have been incorporated into the draft so they can be used for parks in the MHP Overlay district and for those in the OU district.  Previously, the Zoning Ordinance referred applicants for proposed parks in zoned areas to the stand-alone ordinance. Similarly, the standards from the stand-alone Communications Towers Ordinance have added to the tower standards that were already in the Zoning Ordinance so that applicants for towers in the OU district can look to the Zoning Ordinance for the relevant standards.  In adding the stand-alone ordinance standards, it was possible to eliminate one of the tower categories that applies in the Open Use District.  The Board of Commissioners may want to discuss if it is ready to repeal the stand-alone MHP, Communications Towers and Water Supply Watershed Protection Ordinances.


It was the consensus of the Board to leave all the separate ordinances in effect for now, the Board may revisit at a later time.


IX.       Sign Regulations

The draft proposes some basic standards for signs in each of the zoning districts except for OU, which is a change from the current Zoning Ordinance which contains minimal standards for signs.  Standards include regulations for sign height and size (area) as well as the number of signs permitted on property.  Since the addition of sign standards is a major change from the existing ordinance, the Board may want to discuss the provisions in more detail.


It was the consensus of the Board to spend some time in the future reviewing this as well as landscaping regulations.


24.            Repeal of Outdoor Advertising Ordinance

Regulations for outdoor advertising signs (billboards) that previously were contained in the County=s Outdoor Advertising Ordinance have been incorporated into the draft. There were some changes to the text when it was included in the draft Zoning Ordinance regarding provisions to allow the nullification by a property owner of a prior property owner=s waiver of a sign separation requirement.  Since incorporation of the provisions for outdoor advertising signs would allow for the repeal of an existing County ordinance, the Board may wish to discuss this item in more detail.


It was the consensus of the Board to leave this in for the time being but they will have more detailed discussions on this at a later date.


Additional Direction to Staff

Chairman Moyer asked Karen to mention, for the public=s information, where copies of the Draft Zoning Ordinance are available for public inspection.  Karen Smith stated that copies are available at the Henderson County Planning Department located at 101 East Allen Street in downtown Hendersonville.  People can also call the Planning Department at 697-4819 to get a copy mailed to them.  Copies are also available at the Library Branches for review.  Staff is still trying to get a copy on the Internet but have been having some trouble with that. 


Commissioner Ward asked staff to relook at the general purpose statement, asked Karen to look at the NC General Statutes.  He wanted to be sure that the Board is actually trying to carry out the purpose as stated.


Commissioner Gordon stated that she would like the Board to take a look at the parameters on the conditional use and special uses.  She feels they are quite broad.


Chairman Moyer stated that the Board will set another date for an additional workshop on this issue at the next Commissioners= meeting scheduled for July 25.



Commissioner Messer made the motion for the Board to adjourn at 10:30 a.m.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.





Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk to the Board                        William L. Moyer, Chairman