Memo-12-12-2017-Item-13

December 12, 2017

MEMO TO:        Mayor Barber and Board of Commissioners

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

SUBJECT:       Ordinances Amending Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) to Implement the “Commercial Village” Concept - (Summary & Suggested Motions)

The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to consider three amendments to the Unified Development Ordinance to implement the “commercial village” concept outlined in the Town’s 2017 Comprehensive Land Use Plan. (Amendments - 1, 2, 3)

The Board previously considered two of these amendments at the November 14 meeting, and remanded them back to the Planning Board for further review and discussion.  As a result of the Board’s November 14 discussion and additional Planning Board discussion, an additional ordinance amendment is also presented for formal Board consideration.  A public hearing is required before Board consideration of these amendments, and has been scheduled for the December 14 meeting.

The attached memo from Josh Edmondson, Town Planner, includes a more detailed explanation of the proposed ordinance amendments, however, I have summarized the proposed amendments below:

  • commercial and mixed-use building setbacks along NC 58 would be reduced from 10 feet to 5 feet if the building entrance fronts on NC 58 and side and rear parking is provided; the version considered by the Board at the November 14 meeting included a 0 feet setback,
  • the side and rear setbacks for business and government buildings that contain 1 and 2 stories and abut residential development would remain at 15 feet, while those that contain 3 stories and abut residential development would be reduced from 25 feet to 20 feet, while those that contain 4 stories and abut residential development would be reduced from 35 feet to 20 feet; the version considered by the Board at the November 14 meeting would have established setbacks of 10 feet (1 and 2 stories), 15 feet (3 stories), and 20 feet (4 stories),
  • the current 15% natural area requirement in the Business zoning district, which allows the septic area to count as “natural”, would be replaced with a requirement for 15% vegetated area (using the same concept as the Village East, Village West, and Marina Village districts); this is identical to the version considered by the Board at the November 14 meeting,
  • the current 25% vegetated area requirement in the Village East, Village West, and Marina Village districts would be reduced to 15% vegetated to match the Business district; this is also identical to the version considered by the Board at the November 14 meeting, and
  • the additional ordinance amendment presented for Board consideration on December 12 increases the vegetative buffer height requirement for commercial and mixed-use buildings that abut residential development from 6 feet to 8 feet, in an attempt to provide greater protection for adjacent residential properties.

It is important to note that the proposed ordinance amendments would impact limited areas of Emerald Isle.  The Business zoning district is indicated in RED on the attached zoning map excerpt, Village East is indicated in BROWN-WHITE, and Village West is indicated in BLUE-WHITE.  These zoning districts are generally centered on NC 58 between the Emerald Isle bridge and the Town Government complex, on Islander Drive, and on Bogue Inlet Drive.  Combined, these areas include approximately 200 acres of land area, much of which is already developed with commercial structures.  In total, these 200 acres represent approximately 6% of the total Emerald Isle land area of approximately 3,200 acres. Realistically, these are likely the only remaining areas in Emerald Isle where any development other than single-family homes or duplexes will occur in the future.  Some of the proposed ordinance amendments also apply to the Government (in GREEN) and Marina Village (in BLUE), however, there are only a handful of properties in Emerald Isle that are assigned to these zoning districts.   

The Planning Board unanimously recommends approval of the three amendments. 

Josh Edmondson will be available to answer any questions at the December 12 meeting.