Lancaster County considering wholesale changes to development ordinance
By Dan Ballou
Property owners in Lancaster County should be aware that the County is in the final stages of a wholesale rewrite of the Uniform Development Ordinance, or UDO, that establishes zoning and development regulations for all real property in the unincorporated areas of Lancaster County. In June 2015, the County approved a moratorium on rezoning applications for properties in the Indian Land area between Highway 5 and the North Carolina state line while it undertook the process of rewriting the UDO. The County has held a number of public comment sessions prior to submitting the final proposed plan to County Council for approval. On August 23, 2016, the County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing after which it is expected to vote to recommend the repeal of the existing zoning maps and the adoption of the new UDO ordinance. County Council will then give the proposal three readings, and is expected to approve the new UDO sometime in early fall of 2016.
The proposed changes in the Lancaster County development ordinance are not minor tweaks, but a dramatic revision of the entire zoning ordinance, and include unique overlay districts for development along U.S. 521, and areas deemed to be environmentally sensitive. If you are an owner or developer of property in Lancaster County, be advised that your development rights may dramatically change based upon the new regulations being considered by the County. Existing uses may be allowed to continue under grandfathered status, but any expansion or change in existing use or any new use may be prohibited without approval from the Planning Commission or rezoning by County Council. The County will not be contacting individual property owners, but has relied on media and the County website to notify the public of the changes that are in the works. Therefore, it is important that property owners be aware of their zoning status and the impact the new ordinance could have on future plans for development and use.
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Daniel J. Ballou is Senior Counsel with Morton & Gettys LLC in Rock Hill, SC. His practice includes land use & zoning and business and corporate law as well as litigation.
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