Buncombe Commissioners preview: Zoning cometh (again!)

Eight months after a court ruling struck down Buncombe County’s zoning ordinance, the Board of Commissioners is giving it another go, with a public hearing on the new zoning maps dominating the agenda at tomorrow’s meeting.

In March, the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled that when Buncombe passed zoning in 2007, the commissioners hadn’t given enough notice of the public hearing, or enough time for the county planning board to consider the new ordinance. That ruling made zoning throughout the county null and void, and sent county staff scrambling to rework zoning in a way that would conform with state law.

The ruling also breathed some life back into the county’s anti-zoning movement. Throughout the process, anti-zoning activists have shown up to demand (unsuccessfully, so far) that the county put the reinstatement of zoning to a referendum.

Now staff is ready to move forward and will hold the necessary public hearing tomorrow. The board will also vote on the ordinance. However, that won’t be quite enough to pass it, as under state law, a zoning ordinance must pass not just one but two votes. If it passes tomorrow, the commissioners will likely put zoning to a final vote on Dec. 1.

The commissioners will also receive the county’s annual financial report and may approve the sale of property at 785 Merrimon Ave. to Mountain Housing Opportunities to provide a 60-unit affordable-housing complex.

The board will meet at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 17, in the commissioner’s chambers, located at 30 Valley St. A short pre-meeting review of the agenda will begin at 4:15 p.m.

— David Forbes, staff writer

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