An environmental perspective

In an effort to cut through the rhetoric, Xpress reporters waded bravely into the murky waters of the county’s draft zoning ordinance. Here’s our best understanding of what it says (it’s important to note, though, that the ordinance could still change — and that voters are being asked to judge the concept of zoning, not this specific document):

• The Board of Adjustment would be made up of county residents appointed by the Buncombe County commissioners.

• If citizens had a problem, they would first ask the Zoning Administrator for an appeal. If this failed, they could appeal to the Board of Adjustment. A four-fifths majority on the Board of Adjustment would be needed to change existing regulations. The next step would be the courts — not the county commissioners.

• Commissioners could bypass the Board of Adjustment and change zoning on their own, after holding public hearings.

• Some land uses would be conditional (requiring a special permit). Conditional permits would be issued only after extensive, written proposals to the Zoning Administrator and a hearing before the Board of Adjustment.

• Residential mobile homes would be allowed in all residentially zoned areas, except R1 (single-family) and R2 (varied family residential-use areas).

• A mobile-home park is defined as three or more mobiles that pay rent to a landowner. Parks with more than 10 units would need a conditional permit.

• New mobile-home parks would be allowed only in RU (rural) and R3 (higher-density residential) zones.

• Existing mobile homes and mobile-home parks would be grandfathered in R1 or R2 zones, but could not expand.

• Landowners could subdivide their land for mobile homes, but only for their relatives.

• Religious institutions would be allowed in all zoned areas.

• New subdivisions would require conditional permits in all areas.

• Manufacturing and processing would be allowed only in commercial and industrial zones, but would be conditional uses in rural zones.

• Controversial land uses such as cell-phone towers, adult businesses, junkyards, recycling plants and quarries would require conditional permits.

• Asphalt and concrete plants would be allowed in heavy-industry zones and would be conditional uses in light-industry zones.

• Racetracks and dragstrips would be allowed in heavy-industry zones and would be conditional uses in light-industry zones.

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