Planning Director Wes Haskett identified at the Town Planning Board’s Monday meeting seven state law changes that must be incorporated into Southern Shores’ zoning and subdivision ordinances and will make up a single zoning text amendment (ZTA) application that he will prepare for the Planning Board’s consideration either at a special meeting or at its regular meeting in April.
Mr. Haskett, who is also the Town’s Deputy Town Manager, also announced at the meeting that longtime Planning Board member David Neal, whose current three-year term was to expire on June 30, has resigned.
The Town is seeking applications from volunteers for a Planning Board alternate position that will be vacant when the Town Council appoints, as it is expected to do as a matter of policy, first alternate Robert McClendon to Mr. Neal’s seat. (See below for details.)
The seven legal changes identified Monday by Mr. Haskett affect the following substantive areas, he said:
- Performance guarantees (part of the subdivision ordinance)
- Temporary health-care structures (zoning)
- Requirements of protest petitions (zoning)
- Allowable signage (zoning)
- Minimum size of single-family dwellings (zoning)
- Procedure for establishing a “minor” subdivision, which consists of four or fewer lots (subdivisions)
- Manufactured homes (zoning)
The Town Council instructed “Town staff” at its March 2 meeting to take from CodeWright Planners’ “Adoption Draft” of a new Town Code of Ordinances those “valuable elements” that they believe should be incorporated into the current Town Code.
Mr. Haskett has started his review of the Adoption Draft for “valuable elements” by identifying state law changes that must be made.
(In a radical departure from its earlier implicit approval of CodeWright’s product, the Town Council decided unanimously that it prefers the language and format of the current Town Code to most of the language and the new format of CodeWright’s proposed revision.)
See The Beacon, 3/3/21.
Among the seven changes, the Planning Board focused most of its attention on manufactured homes, which, Mr. Haskett explained, are of one piece, like single-wide or double-wide trailers, whereas “modular homes” are typically transported in multiple pieces and assembled on a housing construction site.
The Town of Southern Shores allows modular homes, the Planning Director said. “We currently do not allow manufactured homes. State law says we have to.”
Planning Board Chairperson Andy Ward asked Mr. Haskett how Southern Shores might be able to “stiffen” its regulations on manufactured homes, after meeting the State’s requirements.
Mr. Haskett said that the CodeWright Adoption Draft includes some aesthetics requirements that the Town can impose, such as mandating a deck around the manufactured home and steps up to the home’s entry/exit.
He read aloud CodeWright’s language about aesthetics, as well as other restrictions proposed by the consultant for governing manufactured homes in Southern Shores: It specifies, for example, that a manufactured home “shall be occupied only as a single-family dwelling,” not used for storage, and, thus, it would be subject to all building and flood-protection requirements that apply to all single-family dwellings in town.
(Mr. Haskett specifically stated that a manufactured home would have to conform to the Town’s setback, lot-coverage, and other residential district requirements.)
According to section 22.4.4(A)(1)(a) of the CodeWright Adoption Draft, the exterior of a manufactured home in Southern Shores would be required to be made of vinyl or aluminum lap siding, cedar or another wood, stucco, brick or stone. The home would have to be at least 16 feet in width and be free of “towing apparatus, wheels, axles, and transporting lights.”
For other proposed restrictions on manufactured homes, see the Adoption Draft at https://www.southernshores-nc.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/11-24-2020-Adoption-Draft.pdf
The Planning Board did not discuss whether it could propose creating a new residential district for manufactured homes, and, therefore, regulate their location in town—the presumption apparently being that where a single-family dwelling exists, a manufactured home may, too.
Mr. Ward said he would like to make restrictions on manufactured homes “as stringent as possible,” and no one on the Board disagreed with him.
As for some of the other six state law changes, Mr. Haskett said that:
- The new signage language is a “complete replacement” for what is currently in the Town Code. (We look forward to reading it in one place.)
- The Town must abolish its ordinance requiring single-family dwellings to have a minimum of 1,000 square feet of “enclosed living space” because minimum house-size requirements are no longer legal in North Carolina.
- The Town’s review procedure for a proposed minor subdivision must be altered so that it will no longer be as extensive as the review procedure for a proposed subdivision of more than four lots.
After the Planning Board considers Mr. Haskett’s seven-in-one ZTA, which it may decide to edit, it will make a recommendation to the Town Council, which will vote about enacting the ZTA into law.
In other business, Mr. Ward asked Mr. Haskett to draft recommended Town Code language that would make it clear that the outermost three feet of eaves are excluded from calculations of all building setbacks, not just from front setbacks, as sec. 36-56 of the Code currently requires.
The setback exclusion for eaves, Mr. Ward said, “should go all around a house, not just the front.” In other words, the setbacks from the back and side property lines should be 15 feet from those lines to the building structure itself, not to an overhanging eave.
In discussing this minor change, Mr. Ward recalled that the Planning Board excluded eaves from consideration in computing maximum lot coverage for single-family dwellings in a ZTA that the Town Council enacted into law in 2018.
Planning Board member Ed Lawler, who was not on the Board in 2018, objected to this exclusion, saying that since eaves are “impervious,” they should count toward lot coverage.
Mr. Ward calmly replied that the Planning Board of three years ago did not agree.
If you would like to apply for the vacant Planning Board second-alternate position, go to the following link:
Planning Board members, who also serve on the Board of Adjustment, serve three-year terms. Both Mr. McClendon’s term as first alternate and Jan Collins’s term as second alternate are scheduled to expire June 30. If the Town Council elevates Mr. McClendon to the full Board, it will likely elevate Ms. Collins to first alternate.
The Beacon also would like to heartily thank David Neal, a longtime Southern Shores homeowner and builder, for his many years of service on the Planning Board and the Board of Adjustment.
David’s judgments on the Board were always thoughtful, careful, and deliberate, and they always derived from his love of Southern Shores and his desire to preserve the town’s low-density development and natural beauty, while also furthering individual property owners’ goals and dreams. We will miss his experience and expertise, as well as his warm and friendly manner.
Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 3/19/21