Stanly Commissioners approve, table zoning ordinance changes

The Stanly County Board of Commissioners approved one zoning change and tabled another at the board’s recent meeting.

Bailey Emrich from the Stanly County Planning Department presented the first request to commissioners. This request was to rezone a plot of land at 37953 U.S. Highway 52 North in New London from Residential Agricultural (RA) to Highway Business (HB).

The 1.24 acre plot is next to Stanly Tractor and has 90 feet of road frontage on the four-lane highway. The plot also has two structures on it, a small home and a 1,400-square-foot outbuilding.

Jeff Chandler, owner of the plot, spoke in the public hearing for the rezoning request. He said he and his sister gained the land from his father, who passed away more than a year ago.

“Like everybody here, if you have something for sale, you want to make all you can,” Chandler said.

He said he has spoken with Clayton Homes about purchasing the land for a truck hub to park tractor trailers and pilot cars in shipping homes.

No one spoke against the motion in the public hearing.

The motion passed unanimously.

The second request came from Planning Director Bob Remsburg regarding changes in zoning ordinances to regulate short-term rentals (STRs). These short-term rentals refer to newer companies, such as AirBnB, Vrbo and others.

Before the change, the ordinance addressed boarding and rooming houses while limiting bed-and-breakfast locations to the R-10 district.

Most STRs are in R-20 or RA zoning districts, but new language was needed to establish parameters for them, Remsburg said.

“We’re trying to get ahead of the curve,” Remsberg said, “because these are growing in popularity.”

He added the changes do not affect hotels or formal bed-and-breakfast locations.

Vice Chairman Tommy Jordan asked Remsberg about the fees and process for a home to become an STR listing. The planning director said homeowners can apply to the planning office but must also notify their neighbors.

Remsburg said local property owners not living in Stanly will have to have someone living locally as a responsible party to help maintain the property. He said no fee for it has been established, but it would be a one-time fee to cover administrative costs.

If the permit goes unused for 180 days, it expires. A homeowner would need to reapply for a permit.

Commissioner Scott Efird said the problem is getting worse in subdivisions than on lakes and in resort areas.

“You might have someone working out of town for six months and you live beside of it. You might have a new neighbor every couple of months,” Efird said.

Chairman Bill Lawhon asked about the maximum occupancy being equal to the design load of the location’s septic system, adding the language needs to be more specific. Remsburg said it would be based on the number of bedrooms and soil conditions.

“That needs to be clearer,” Lawhon said.

Commissioner Zach Almond asked about a location which included a rentable barn along with areas for tent camping and concerts which he said last “until two in the morning.”

Remsberg said any property which would host events like weddings has to have a special use permit.

“The Board of Adjustments can establish rules and steps for that,” Remsberg said.

After no one spoke at the public hearing on the ordinance, Vice Chairman Tommy Jordan moved to table the changes, seconded by Commissioner Lane Furr. The motion passed 7-0.