County Board OKs Changes in Zoning for Horse Country
Zoning regulations in "horse country" are clarified and expanded in the latest text amendments approved for the Moor County Zoning Ordinance.
The Board of Commissioners approved a set of text amendments after conducting a public hearing during its meeting Monday. The Moore County Planning Board had voted unanimously to recommend approval of the changes.
Also during the meeting, the board voted to rezone property legislatively de-annexed from the town of Robbins for rural business purposes, clearing the way for beer sales at a neighborhood convenience store.
The zoning amendments allow signs in the Rural Equestrian (RE) District, add a definition for barn apartment, and remove a minimum size requirement for horse farms.
"We want to add a little flexibility to the ordinance," said Planning Director Joey Raczkowski in his introduction of the proposed text amendments.
Under the old language, a new horse farm must be 10 acres or larger in the Rural Equestrian District, but horse farms are also classified as bona fide farms, which means they are used for agricultural purposes. This presented a conflict because farms, with a few exceptions, are not subject to zoning.
Raczkowski added that the horse farm size limitation was not enforceable.
The changes add a definition of a barn apartment as "a self-contained housing unit incorporated within a barn complete with its own sleeping, cooking and sanitary facilities."
Raczkowski said that in the past the barn apartment had been broadly defined, leaving a big gray area.
"We're trying to nail down a definition," he said.
The Table of Uses is changed to add Seven Lakes Gated Community to the zoning districts where horse farms are a permitted use. The other districts are Residential Agricultural-5, RA-2, RA-40, RA, and RA Urban Service Boundary, as well as the RE district.
Before the amendments were adopted, signs were not allowed in the RE district. Now the same sign requirements apply to the RE district that apply to all other residential districts. These changes were recommended after the planning staff conducted an inventory of existing signs erected before adoption of the countywide zoning ordinance in 1999 and the later formation of RE districts.
This change will allow signs for subdivisions and home occupations only. The amendment defines the limits on these signs.
No one signed up to speak during the hearing, and no objections were raised to the proposed amendments, which are part of a series of text amendments developed by the planning staff in recent months.
The zoning change approved by the board will allow the Robbins Friendly Mart to sell beer, an enterprise prohibited while the business remained within the town jurisdiction.
No one spoke in opposition during a public hearing held to consider the zoning change. The commissioners then gave unanimous approval to the rezoning.
The property is a 1.48-acre lot at the northeast corner of the intersection of N.C. 24-27 and N.C. 705. On the lot is a building erected in 1945 and currently used as a convenience store and self-service gas station.
In 1999, when the countywide zoning ordinance was adopted, the property was located in Robbins and subject to Robbins zoning ordinances, not the county. Robbins voters have since approved a referendum issue allowing the sale of wine, but at the same time turned down the sale of beer within town limits. Then Bensalem Township voters approved the sale of both beer and wine.
By remaining in the town limits, the Robbins Friendly Mart could have legally sold wine but not beer. Now, however, the convenience store can sell both beer and wine because it now lies within the Bensalem jurisdiction.
Legislation was needed to carry out de-annexation, something that rarely occurs in North Carolina. The General Assembly ratified the bill in July, and the store now lies outside the town's corporate limits. The N.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission has granted the store an ABC license to sell beer.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at (910) 693-2479 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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