County panel revisits building-height rules

Published 10:30 pm Wednesday, September 5, 2007

By Staff
Four-category approach agreed upon by members
Staff Writer
During its second meeting to discuss the subject, the Beaufort County Planning Board settled on a four-pronged approach to restricting building heights.
But just how high board members plan to let buildings reach is still up in the air. The board met Monday night.
The four areas the board plans to police are waterfront property, property along highway corridors, areas within a certain distance from existing towns and cities and the remainder of the county. But no specific rules have been decided yet in regard to how restrictive the final ordinance will be on building heights in those areas.
In early August, the board first met to discuss imposing height restrictions in the county. At that meeting, board members asked Eddie Davis, a planner with the Mid-East Commission, to come up with language the board could use to create a stand-alone height-restriction ordinance independent of the one governing subdivisions.
That document did not discuss height restrictions with regard to highway corridors, but the board decided to include that category in the final draft.
Spruill said controversy over building height is almost always associated with waterfront development, but in imposing a building-height code, the board should not stop there.
Though the actual distance was the topic of much debate among board members, the ordinance as drafted would place a certain restriction on development in a zone outside the already restricted extraterritorial jurisdictions of the county’s municipalities. Proposed distances from the ETJs wherein country restrictions would apply ranged from a half-mile to two miles.
No action was taken by the board at the meeting. Bozeman asked Spruill and Davis to “tweak” the draft ordinance to create a “base working document.” Spruill said he would clean up the language and write in a procedure for granting variances and special-use permits.
The board will reconvene Oct. 2 to discuss the issue. Then, the board members will take up the task of discussing the specifics of the restrictions they hope to impose.