Georgetown County Planners to hold public hearing on Flexible Design District zoning

  • Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Georgetown County could soon have a new single use option called the Flexible Design District for developers.

The Georgetown County Planning Commission agreed at their recent regular meeting to hold a public hearing at their March 18 meeting and formulate a recommendation to County Council on this issue.

Planning staff is proposing an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance to add a new zoning district called the Flexible Design Distract.

This zoning would not override any overlay zones and would include environmental best practices for storm water, natural buffers, etc.

“We are not imposing this on anyone,” planning director Boyd Johnson said at the meeting.

“Developers would have to come to us.”

As a result of the Supreme Court ruling in the Sinkler case, which effectively prohibited single use Planned Developments (PD), many localities have created new zoning districts that allow flexibility and innovation without the PD designation.

The reasoning of the Court was that PDs are defined in the State enabling legislation thus local governments were bound to only approve PDs that met the definition.

Planning staff stated in their report that there are situations that are best addressed by a flexible district that may only be single use.

“The intention (of the FDD) is to allow creative, single use developments that truly address problems like affordable housing and/or enhance the environment,” the report states.

“The process would be the same for developers as a PD,” said planning director Boyd Johnson at the meeting.

“The Planning Commission would hear it first and then it would go through three readings of County Council.”

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