Between the public hearing that drew some 1,300 people four months ago and the hearing that drew only 150 this week, Jackson County officials have worked to produce their first subdivision regulations in answer to the growing pressure of development on the mountain land surrounding them. The proposal, as reported by the Smoky Mountain News, was met mostly by approval from the smaller crowd on June 11. It spells out such details as open-space requirements, due diligence on slopes, density of development, allowable pavement and protections for contours, trees, views and light intrusion. Some of the details quoted in Smoky Mountain News include:
• Natural vegetation must be retained to screen at least 50 percent of a the face of a building when viewed from the nearest public road. The roofline of a home must be at least 20 feet below any ridgeline.
• Homes on hillsides should “step-down” the mountain with a split foundation to conform to the natural contour of the slope.
• For a 40 percent slope, for example, only 5 percent of the lot can be covered in roofs and driveways.
The Board of Commissioners will hold a second workshop on the regulations on Tuesday, June 26, at 6:30 p.m. in the board room of the Jackson County Courthouse. The ordinances are available on the county’s Web site.
— Nelda Holder, news and opinion editor