Stanly commissioners vote on minimum lot size issue

Published 9:06 am Thursday, August 10, 2023

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In a special called meeting of the Stanly County Board of Commissioners Wednesday morning, the board could not agree on a new standard for the size of properties in rural areas.

The board voted 4-3 against a motion which would have increased the minimum size of lots in designated rural preservation areas zoned residential/agricultural (R/A) to five acres, or 217,800 square feet. Rural preservation areas are defined by the county’s land use planned passed by commissioners last October.

Vice Chairman Mike Barbee and commissioners Patty Crump and Brandon King voted for the motion to approve the five-acre minimum; Chairman Scott Efird and commissioners Peter Asciutto, Trent Hatley and Bill Lawhon voted against. Lawhon, while voting, noted he was against the motion “for now.”

Hannah Lear, who spoke for the five-acre minimum during the public hearing, said the board has had this “on their table for about a year now and we just keep spinning in circles. No one’s wanting to give a definite answer.”

Amanda Cody was one of several realtors who spoke against the five-acre minimum. She said she was happy with the board’s decision to not pass the motion.

“Maybe if they increased it to 1.5 to 2 acres, I don’t think that would be that big of a problem … it’s such a large amount of property and it is such a greater cost,” Cody said. “They talk about protecting farmland … it was 0.92 acres (40,000 square feet) when all these subdivisions came in. That’s not going to change. If you make it five acres, it will not affect the larger tract owners. It will affect the local builders.”

Cody said larger land owners “can still purchase property and get it rezoned, or annexed by a city. It’s not going to affect them; they have ways to get things done.”

However, the board voted 6-0 to bring the issue back in front of commissioners at the board’s next regularly-scheduled meeting Sept. 5. Barbee was excused from the meeting early for a doctor’s appointment and did not vote.

On Sept. 5, the board will consider a minimum lot size between 1.5 and 5 acres, along with 25-foot side setbacks and a “family subdivision” exception minimum of 40,000 to 60,000 square feet. A public hearing will be conducted at the meeting with commissioners then able to consider changes to the ordinance.

Currently, the minimum lot sizes in the R/A district are 40,000 square feet for homes with sewer and water access, and 30,000 for those without access.

According to numbers presented to commissioners by Stanly Planning Director Bob Remsburg, there are approximately 12,981 parcels of land in Stanly in the R/A and rural preservation areas.

Of those, 9,477 are in both and have less than 10 acres of land; a five-acre minimum would not allow property owners to subdivide the land, with a few exceptions.

One exception would be a family subdivision, meaning land subdivided for immediate members of a family: “husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children (biological, adopted or step), grandmothers, grandfathers, grandchildren (biological, adopted or step), aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews (biological, adopted or step) and surviving spouses.”

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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