June 13, 2017

MEMO TO: Mayor Barber and Board of Commissioners

FROM:                  Frank A. Rush, Jr., Town Manager

SUBJECT:           Ordinance Amending Chapter 2 – Administration – of the Unified Development Ordinance to Assign the Duties of the Board of Adjustment to the Planning Board - (Summary & Suggested Motions)

The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to consider the attached amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) that would formally assign the duties of the Board of Adjustment to the Planning Board.  A public hearing is required prior to formal Board consideration, and has been scheduled for the June 13 meeting.

The Board of Adjustment’s duties include considering appeals of staff interpretations of the UDO, considering appeals of staff decisions, and considering variances from the UDO requirements.  As discussed several times in recent months, the Town’s Board of Adjustment has not met since November 2011 (more than 5 ½ years ago) due to a lack of agenda items.  Additionally, there are now 4 vacancies on the Board of Adjustment, and the Board of Commissioners has had difficulty identifying individuals interested in serving.  At the Board of Commissioners’ May meeting, the Board indicated its interest in simply assigning the duties of the Board of Adjustment to the Planning Board, and directed Town staff to seek the Planning Board’s input on this issue.  Town Planner Josh Edmondson discussed this issue with the Planning Board at its May meeting, and the Planning Board voted unanimously to accept the duties of the Board of Adjustment.

The attached ordinance amendment simply includes language formally designating the Planning Board as the Board of Adjustment.  Several existing provisions in Section 2.2.3. (establishing the Board of Adjustment) of the UDO would be deleted simply because they refer to provisions already included in the UDO in Section 2.2.2 (establishing the Planning Board), and are repetitive if the Planning Board is now designated as the Board of Adjustment.  The Board of Commissioners should note, however, that, because the Planning Board consists of 7 members (whereas the Board of Adjustment only consists of 5 members), the attached ordinance amendment increases the amount required for a quorum from 4 to 6 members.  This increased quorum is recommended due to the fact that, under NC law, variance decisions require a vote of 4/5 of the members present.  The Board should also note the attached ordinance amendment also includes a provision whereby appeals of staff interpretations of the UDO would only require a simple majority, and not a 4/5 vote.  This change is recommended due to a recent change in NC law.

I have attached several documents for the Board’s review as you consider the proposed ordinance amendment:

Town Planner Josh Edmondson and I look forward to discussing the attached ordinance amendment with the Board at the June 13 meeting.