Town of Cornelius Adopts Conservation Subdivision Ordinance

Cornelius LogoThe Town of Cornelius has adopted a Conservation Subdivision Ordinance that lets developers do away with minimum lot size, width and setback requirements in exchange for setting aside a percentage of the site as undisturbed open space. 

The ordinance is the first of its kind in Mecklenburg County, and applies only to the Rural Preservation (RP) zoning district. Along with its unanimous approval of the Conservation Subdivision ordinance on Monday night, the Cornelius Town Board also voted unanimously to reduce the minimum lot size in the RP district from 5 to 3 acres. Click HERE to download the full ordinance.

In order to be rezone to one of the three available Conservation districts, the ordinance requires a minimum percentage of the total tract area to be set aside as open space as follows:

  • Conservation Subdivision Rural = 60%
  • Conservation Subdivision Low = 50%
  • Conservation Subdivision Medium = 40%

REBIC spoke in favor of the Conservation Subdivision at the Town’s public hearing, applauding Commissioners and Planning Director Wayne Herron for taking a step toward encouraging voluntary preservation of critical open space through the use of site design flexibility. We asked the Town Board to consider adding a Density Bonus and allowing developers to use the Conservation ordinance by-right, instead of having to go through a conditional rezoning process.

Conservation Subdivisions offer a number of benefits for homeowners, developers and the environment, including:

  • Preservation of meaningful natural habitat
  • Reduced development costs
  • Reduced impervious surface and improved water quality
  • Flexible site design
  • Higher home values

REBIC looks forward to working with the Town of Cornelius and other local municipalities to develop and improve Conservation Subdivision ordinances that provide voluntary incentives for open space preservation.

 

 

 

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