Orange County NC Website
1 <br /> ORANGE COUNTY <br /> BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS <br /> ACTION AGENDA ITEM ABSTRACT <br /> Meeting Date: September 12, 2023 <br /> Action Agenda <br /> Item No. 7-a <br /> SUBJECT: Discussion on Potential Amendment to Unified Development Ordinance <br /> Regarding Planning Director Analysis & Recommendations on Applications <br /> DEPARTMENT: Planning and Inspections <br /> ATTACHMENT(S): INFORMATION CONTACT: <br /> None Cy Stober, 919-245-2592 <br /> PURPOSE: To receive information from staff and discuss the potential removal of the Planning <br /> Director's recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), as well as possibly <br /> the recommendations to the Planning Board and Board of Adjustment, as currently required by <br /> the Orange County Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). <br /> BACKGROUND: At its June 20, 2023 Business Meeting, the BOCC received a petition from <br /> Commissioner Jean Hamilton to consider amending the Orange County UDO to have the <br /> Planning Director perform an analysis on applications without a recommendation to the BOCC. <br /> Upon review, staff determined that, in addition to the Planning Director making a recommendation <br /> to the BOCC on zoning matters, the Orange County UDO requires that the Planning Director's <br /> recommendation be provided to both the Planning Board and the BOCC for all proposals to amend <br /> the UDO and the Comprehensive Plan, as well as approving Major Subdivisions. The Planning <br /> Director also makes a recommendation to the Board of Adjustment on Appeals to staff <br /> interpretations of the UDO. <br /> North Carolina's land use laws (North Carolina General Statutes (NCGS) 160D) are silent on the <br /> role of Planning staff in advising the county on land use decisions. NCGS 160D Article 4 and <br /> Article 6 identify the responsibilities of jurisdictions in land use matters presented to the BOCC, <br /> including the requirement that the Planning Board provide a recommendation to the BOCC. These <br /> articles allow for administrative, public notification, application analysis, and advisory <br /> responsibilities to be assigned to staff. <br /> It is common practice in North Carolina for jurisdictions that entrust administration and <br /> determination of land use matters to a "Planning Director" to receive recommendations from that <br /> individual. These recommendations are based upon findings of 1) application completeness; 2) <br /> conformance with UDO standards; and 3) consistency with all relevant adopted plans, but namely <br /> the "Comprehensive Plan", as defined by NCGS 160D. Those jurisdictions that do not have a staff <br /> recommendation for land use matters mostly rely upon a "Zoning Administrator" who reviews an <br /> amendment packet for completeness and ensures public notification criteria are met. Per <br /> Commissioner Hamilton's petition, this staff analysis would remain, detailed in the staff report and <br /> abstract to the BOCC, but be digested into a findings of conformance and consistency with County <br /> standards and plans. The Planning Board's recommendation is required by NCGS 160D and is <br />