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The first major rewrite of Aberdeen’s Unified Development Ordinance since 2007 was presented to the town board during its work session Tuesday. The purpose of the UDO is: 

  1. Assist the public in their compliance with the Zoning Ordinance.
  2. Review development proposals for compliance with the Zoning Ordinance.
  3. Processing Zoning Permits, Conditional Use Permits, Sign Permits, Zoning Code Text Amendments, and Rezoning Requests.
  4. Review Site Plans, Preliminary & Final Plats.
  5. Respond to citizen complaints and inquiries associated with land use activities.

According to Aberdeen Planning Director Justin Westbrook, the town’s existing UDO is 20 chapters with 11 appendices and has several major issues including:

  1. It uses doublespeak and can be difficult to interpret.
  2. The difficulty in interpreting can also make it difficult to enforce.
  3. It is poorly organized with chapters that don’t coincide with pages and sections.
  4. Relevant and linked information is not in the same spot, which makes it difficult to find the needed information.

The process of revamping the UDO took six months and involved the planning board, appearance and beautification commission as well as the advisory board. Additionally, the town attorney, local builders, land planners and design professionals all reviewed the proposed ordinance.

The new document is ten chapters long and is written in clear, concise language. It is easier to read, interpret, and enforce. It cuts the zoning districts from 17 to10.

“A town of 8,000 people doesn’t need 17 zoning districts,” said Westbrook.

The UDO will apply to any new development, as well as any existing structures that undergo extensive renovations.

Westbrook likened a UDO to an app on your phone. “There will be many minor updates on almost a weekly basis, but every once in awhile there will be a major new release that will change the appearance and functionally of the app.”  

Mayor Robert Farrell commended Westbrook and the entire planning board team for their hard work on the project.

“It is long overdue, and if we had this years ago, we would not have some of the development problems we have,” said Farrell. “It (the new UDO) is clear, precise with no ambiguity.”

The board is scheduled to take action at its upcoming regular board meeting on November 25.

Sandhills_Sentinel~Article by Local News/Government Reporter Chris Prentice.
Contact him at [email protected] or (910) 639-9303.


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