Sandhills_Sentinel

The Aberdeen Board of Commissioners voted Monday to approve a revised Unified Development Ordinance including a new zoning map.

The UDO provides a road map to a developer wanting to build in Aberdeen; the new document replaces one that was implemented in 2007. The old ordinance was a mish-mash of various documents that could be interpreted in a myriad of ways.

The Town would find themselves many times negotiating with developers resulting in different design standards in various subdivisions throughout the town. According to Mayor Robbie Farrell, those days are over, and “anyone who wants to come to Aberdeen and build will have a clear understanding of what this board expects, and what our citizens expect.” He added, “If they want to build to that standard, they are welcome.”

Planning Director Justin Westbrook started working on the rewrite earlier this year. In a process that included the Planning Board and other advisory boards, as well as local builders and designers, the new document is much more user-friendly. The language has been cleaned up to remove ambiguities and laid out the standards in a clear, concise format.

According to Westbrook, the new document is “easy to read, easy to interpret, and easy to enforce.” The Town Planning Board recommended approval, and Westbrook added, “it is very clear cut language. No one will be able to come before you and argue what the definition of the word is.”’

Before the board voted, Commissioner Wilma Laney expressed concern that she had not had a chance to review the final changes made since the final version was discussed at the Town’s Work Session two weeks prior. After Westbrook completed a review of changes, explaining many of the changes were grammatical or clarifying in nature, Laney agreed to go ahead and vote on the resolution, which was passed unanimously. The new ordinance takes effect on January 1, 2020.

For more information and to review the UDO and zoning map, please click here.

In other business, a concerned Aberdeen citizen addressed the board about her concerns regarding the Town spraying Roundup without notifying the public, and at least one incident where she observed a worker spraying without any protective equipment.

Glyphosate, the primary ingredient in Roundup, is a chemical that kills weeds and is the most widely used herbicide in the country. It was initially thought to have low toxicity and low risk. However, in recent years, a link to lymphoma and other cancers has been established. Currently, Bayer, the company which produces Roundup (it was initially released by Monsanto in 1977 and purchased by Bayer several years ago), is facing almost 19,000 lawsuits.

Town Manager Paul Sabiston stated he had reviewed a list of alternatives to Roundup, but “they are not very effective.” He went on to say that the Town sprays rarely and has started posting any spraying on both the Town’s website and Facebook page.

Aberdeen Town Clerk Regina Rosy was asked if the Town requires employees to wear protective equipment when spraying.

“The town provides the required protective equipment and expects employees to use it,” said Rosy. She also stated she was going to look into if the protective gear is being used as required.

The town also expanded its boundaries by accepting a request by the property owner 685 Johnston Street to be annexed into the town. The area annexed is approximately half an acre and according to the town’s public works department town water is available at the property. The annexation is required to allow the homeowner access to the town’s water system.

The Aberdeen Commissioners will only have one meeting in December, taking place on December 9.

Sandhills_Sentinel~Written by Local News/Government Reporter Chris Prentice.
Contact him at chris@sandhillssentinel.com or (910) 639-9303.

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