The town of Harrisburg has launched a Unified Development Ordinance survey for residents to obtain feedback on its proposed new changes.
The town kicked off its updating process after staffers reviewed the current planning documents in April. The town held a joint Town Council and Planning and Zoning Board meeting with Kendig Keast Collaborative in May to jumpstart the process and look at the results of the UDO evaluation.
The town decided to make updates to the UDO due to significant changes in its population, land development pattern, economy and state legislative and land use changes. Also, the town adopted its Harrisburg Area Land Use Plan (HALUP) in 2018 with the help of Cabarrus County. The town first adopted a UDO in 1985, and that ordinance was not updated until 2008. All updates to the UDO will help align it with the land use plan, said Planning and Zoning Director Sushil Nepal.
“It is not that the current UDO is not compliant with the HALUP. The HALUP established the vision and framework for how we grow and develop into the future and was adopted in 2018,” he said. “The UDO is meant to be the tool to help implement and realize the HALUP vision. The UDO update offers us an opportunity to draft regulations that will help achieve the vision.”
The survey’s goal is to collect resident feedback on things such as types of housing, how close housing should be to retail and commercial areas, what housing types should be grouped together, green area protection, and other land use questions. The survey has 19 questions and is estimated to take 10 minutes to answer.
In addition to the resident survey, there will be other opportunities for residents to participate and give feedback in the updating process. Due to COVID-19, the original plan for public meetings may change as the pandemic situation in the state changes. But a resident has been selected to serve on the UDO Steering Committee along with representatives from Harrisburg, Cabarrus County, Real Estate and Building Coalition and Cabarrus County Schools. The resident representative and alternate were selected by council members during their June meeting. The primary representative is Michael Painter, and Jay Rhodes will serve as an alternate.
One of the major changes that the town wants to implement with the UDO is to make it web-based and interactive. This will make it more user-friendly, Nepal said, and improve efficiency in finding information. This will make the UDO a searchable document, allowing staffers and residents to find information faster. With the use of hyperlinks, definitions for terms and jargon can be easily accessible.
The updates will also address individual changes made to sections of the UDO that have been made over the years, Nepal said. The changes have caused some discrepancies in the current UDO.
“What we have found is these individual changes impact other sections of the UDO, and those were left unchanged. The UDO update will address those discrepancies. We also have adopted several regulations — stormwater, for example — outside of the UDO and are not reflected in the current UDO,” he said. “The UDO update will serve as a one-stop shop for development regulations and reference any external regulations so applicants are fully aware of what is applicable for their project, hence will streamline development regulations.”
The survey will be up online until Aug. 23. The survey can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HLN5PJZ.
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