Cabarrus County Commissioners Approve Changes to Zoning Code to Comply with Residential Aesthetics Law

In an effort to conform with the new Residential Aesthetic Design Law signed last month by Governor Pat McCrory, the Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners last week approved numerous changes to its zoning code, removing aesthetic design requirements on single-family homes, townhomes and duplexes.

However, Cabarrus County regrettably chose to eliminate certain residential zoning districts and overlays, including their Planned Unit Residential (PUD) and Amenity Subdivision districts, which “traded” higher densities for residential design requirements on single-family homes.

REBIC believes that higher-density residential development provides numerous community and environmental benefits, including increased walkability, the preservation of open space, and reduced impervious surface.

Session Law 2015-86 (previously known as Senate Bill 25), limits the ability of local governments to enact and enforce design and aesthetic controls for new single-family, townhome, and duplex developments. It was a top priority for REBIC, the North Carolina Home Builders Association (NCHBA), and the North Carolina Association of REALTORS® (NCAR).

On July 14th, the Cabarrus County Planning Commission unanimously passed the proposed changes, and they were adopted by the Board of Commissioners on August 17th. You can review the proposed changes HERE (pages 300 to 455 of the agenda packet).

Changes were also made to certain commercial zoning districts to remove aesthetic design and sidewalk requirements on retail, office and industrial buildings, although these amendments were not required by the new law.

REBIC plans to meet with Cabarrus County planning officials in the near future to discuss these changes and work toward amendments that promote more higher-density, mixed-used development where appropriate in the community.  We will continue to work with other local governments in the Charlotte region as they update their respective codes to comply with the new aesthetics law.

You can watch a detailed discussion of the zoning ordinance changes from the Board’s August 3rd Work Session (starting at 2:17:20).

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