STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA                                          BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

COUNTY OF HENDERSON                                                                     FEBRUARY 14, 2002


The Henderson County Board of Commissioners met for a special called meeting at 3:00 p.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‑Chairman Marilyn Gordon, Commissioner Don Ward, Commissioner Charlie Messer, Commissioner Grady Hawkins, County Manager David E. Nicholson, County Attorney Angela S. Beeker, Planning Director Karen C. Smith, Deputy Clerk to the Board Amy R. Brantley, and Public Information Officer Chris S. Coulson.



Chairman Moyer called the meeting to order and welcomed those in attendance. The purpose of this meeting was a workshop on the proposed new zoning ordinance.



Karen Smith stated that Article III is the Article that deals with Use Districts. Article III will deal with both new and existing districts. Chairman Moyer stated that the Board would like to keep as few of the old districts as possible. For the retained districts, there will be very minimal changes. 


Chairman Moyer questioned the NAICS code that uses all zeros. Karen Smith answered that the NAICS code is an industrial classification system, not designed for residential uses. Primarily, a zero code is a residential use, and will have a specific definition in our ordinance. 


Commissioner Hawkins questioned where the proposed Purpose Statements came from. Ms. Beeker stated that those were a combined effort from Benchmark and the Planning Board.    


Purpose Statements for the New Districts

Karen Smith outlined the Purpose Statements for the New Districts. She reminded the Board that it is important that they actually reflect the uses in the district. Purpose statements are used ultimately to guide the application of the district such as in a rezoning action. She noted that they didn't alter statements for the Old Districts except to make them fit with the new structure.


Ms. Smith answered several questions from the Board regarding the Purpose Statements.

Ms. Beeker stated that the Purpose Statements will be a powerful tool in the implementation of the County Comprehensive Plan. 


Chairman Moyer questioned why there is still a differentiation between NR‑10 and NR‑20. He believed the Board had requested to have those districts blended into one. Ms. Smith stated that they could blend the two, because there was very little difference between the two. Angela Beeker agreed that the differentiation between when you would apply NR-20 and NR-10 would be very difficult.


Commissioner Hawkins requested some elaboration on density. A lot of the districts are defined by density, but density is never really talked about in terms of people or numbers. Density should be considered by number of people rather than just lot size. Ms. Smith stated that from a zoning standpoint, density usually refers to units per acre. There are numbers available that articulate the density by number of residential units per acre.


There was discussion on getting rid of NR‑10 and NR‑20, and combining those two into one district. Following additional discussion, it was decided to proceed with three densities: Low Density or NR‑40, Medium Density or NR‑15, and High Density or NR‑6.


Uses in Each District

Ms. Smith stated that the goal in this process was to have the uses match with the purpose. Staff has reviewed the purpose statements and has offered revised purpose statements for most of the new districts. They tried not to "alter" board policy, but merely tried to reflect a better description of what has been included in the district. The Board was provided with a list of all allowed uses in the districts. There are a few uses, such as retirement communities, that staff will be adding to the districts.


Ms. Smith stated that the Board may wish to change how each use is allowed.  For example, should a use that is currently permitted by right be permitted with special requirements, or as a conditional or special use?  Conversely, should a use currently listed as a conditional or special use be permitted with special requirements?


There was further clarification regarding the use of the NAICS manual and the codes in the new districts. The NAICS is a guide to assist with interpretation. Staff is currently making the transition from solely relying on a table of uses, to a use list for each district. Listing the allowable uses in each district will require some clarification and clean‑up.  Some of the names and divisions of uses were used strictly because it was a table listing all uses allowed in any district.


Ms. Smith stated that staff had not changed any of the text for Planned Unit Developments. There are three questions that need to be addressed by the Board. Staff will come back with a proposed PUD district after receiving this information from the Board. The three questions were:


1.         Whether any type of PUD is appropriate within the district?

2.         Whether the PUD in a particular district should be limited to the uses allowed in that district or not?  In the previous draft, PUDs were an overlay district that potentially allowed any use in any district.

3.         Whether the same definition and standards for PUDs can be used in both the old and the new districts?


Ms. Smith also stated that a topic which needed discussion revolved around communications towers. She stated that the Board should decide whether it wished to standardize the terminology. The Open Use district has a reference to the Communications Tower Ordinance. The way we define towers in that ordinance is slightly different than the Zoning Ordinance. The Tower Ordinance has more to do with the type of tower and the height. The Zoning Ordinance is based more on where they are allowed and how they are allowed.     


Ms. Smith stated that she would prefer to consolidate the Tower Ordinance into the Zoning Ordinance. Chairman Moyer agreed they would like to consolidate the two if it is possible, feasible and understandable. Ms. Smith will bring this back to the Board at a future meeting for discussion.


Ms. Smith informed the Board that the Ordinance has been drafted so that some type of PUD will be allowed in all districts. However, all stipulations of the district will apply. One exception is in the office/institutional district. That district does not allow residential uses, however the exception will allow for residential development on up to 50% of the gross land area. In NR‑40 all PUD's are permitted by special use, so they would come to the Board on a case by case basis. It was the consensus of the Board to have Ms. Smith use this concept as a guideline for the new districts.


There was much discussion regarding how the standards in pre-existing PUDs should be administered. Chairman Moyer stressed that when making this determination, simplicity and consistency will be the key.


Ms. Smith reminded the Board that they had asked for Convalescent Homes to be added to residential districts. She stated that staff will propose that Convalescent Homes be a use by right with standards in all residential districts. Chairman Moyer asked if there would be a differentiation between Convalescent Homes and other types of continuing care. Ms. Smith noted that such a distinction would be made in the use listing. 


Ms. Smith then reviewed the Proposed Revised Purpose Statements. The Planning Board had proposed the original Purpose Statements, and staff had made observations and changes to those statements. Ms. Smith began with the NR-40 Low Density Residential District. She informed the Board that the words Anon-farm@ should be stricken in every district. In the NR‑40 District, the Proposed Revised Purpose Statements states: The purpose of the NR‑40 Low Density Residential District is to provide for primarily large‑lot, single‑family residential development, including both site‑built and manufactured housing, (and complementary land uses) in areas designated residential on County land use plan maps where low density development is preferred for reasons including but not limited to: lack of transportation, water and/or sewer facilities, presence of steep topography or sensitive natural areas, existing or anticipated development trends and patterns, and/or implementation of the County comprehensive plan.


Commissioner Gordon had some concerns about the use of the word Apreferred@ in the definition. Following discussion, it was decided to change Apreferred@ to Aappropriate@.


Commissioner Hawkins questioned whether there was a specific reason why the Planning Board arrived at the statement they had versus the staff proposed statement. Ms. Smith stated that the Planning Board had not seen the staff proposed statement.


Chairman Moyer stated that the board has to have the flexibility to allow developers to do what is right for the market and appropriate for the area, as long as it is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. Angela Beeker stated that if the Board has consensus on the Purpose Statements, it will make the review of uses much easier.

There was much discussion on what input the Planning Board should have on staff recommendations prior to the Board making their comments. The Planning Board has not seen the revised Purpose Statements. Commissioner Hawkins questioned what the Purpose Statement for NR‑15 would look like. Ms. Beeker stated that was a good question, and that she and Ms. Smith would begin drafting that statement.  


Following discussion, it was the consensus of the Board to change the word "preferred" to "appropriate" in the NR‑40 statement. It was also the consensus to accept NR‑15 Medium Density Residential, with the NR‑10 Purpose Statement with a wording change from High Density to Medium Density.  


Commissioner Hawkins questioned the use of the term ACounty Land Use Map@. The ACounty Land Use Map@ and ACounty Comprehensive Plan@ are two different things. Ms. Beeker explained that the statutes state that zoning has to be done in accordance with a comprehensive plan. Traditionally, for zoning purposes, there is a Land Use Map included for zoning purposes. That map is used as a guide in the comprehensive plan.


Ms. Smith asked if the Board would like to change the word "preferred" to "appropriate" in the NR‑6 statement. Commissioner Gordon stated that she felt consistency was very important, and that the change should be made. It was decided that "appropriate" would be used in each statement.        


Angela Beeker offered a comment that will be generally applicable for all the districts. She proposed that Uses #1, 3 and 4, which deal with farming, have the following wording attached: No Zoning Compliance Permit shall be required for this use. Commissioner Gordon stated that perhaps another category of uses by right with no permit could be developed, rather than having such cases be a permitted use.


Commissioner Gordon clarified that the new Zoning Ordinance would have the following uses: uses by right, permitted uses, permitted uses with special requirements that staff approves, and conditional uses that go to the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Ms. Beeker reminded the Board that if a use is listed as a conditional use, if a petitioner meets those standards they cannot be denied. From a legal standpoint, the less discretion the better.


There being no further business to come before the Board, Commissioner Hawkins made the motion to adjourn the meeting at 4:34 p.m. All voted in favor and the motion carried.





______________________________________        ______ ____________________________

Amy R. Brantley, Deputy Clerk to the Board  William L. Moyer, Chairman