01/29/10 — Planning changes don't slow plat OKs

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Planning changes don't slow plat OKs

By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 29, 2010 1:46 PM

It is too soon to judge how well the new subdivision rules that gave county commissioners the final say on all subdivision plats are working, but so far they have not been a problem, local officials say.

However, none of the some half dozen plats approved by commissioners thus far have been for large projects, said Bobby Rex Kornegay, who has been the surveyor for a number of those projects.

"We need to give it time and see how it runs," Kornegay said. "It is new to everybody right now."

Commissioners approved the changes to the subdivision ordinance in October and to the mobile home park ordinance in November. In both cases, the changes gave commissioners final approval of all plats.

A mobile home park plat is not considered under the subdivision ordinance because the mobile homes are on rented lots. In a mobile home subdivision, the homes are located on lots owned by the homeowner.

The Planning Board continues to review plats and make recommendations to commissioners.

The Planning Board meets on the second Tuesday of the month and commissioners meet on the first and third Tuesdays. Plats approved by the Planning Board should be ready for commissioners at their second meeting of the month meaning a delay of less than two weeks.

There had been some concerns that adding commissioners to the process would slow down plat approval. There was a 30-day lag because commissioners canceled their mid-January meeting to attend a regional conference at Wayne Community College. The holiday schedule also was a factor.

However, that should no longer be the case, Kornegay said.

County Planner Connie Price said that the only time someone might run into a deadline issue would be if they waited until "the last minute" to submit a plat.

"Up until it is approved by the Planning Board it (process) is just as it was," Price said. "It just added one step for us. The only extra work on our part is doing a memo for commissioners about what is on the plat and me going to the commissioners' meetings to present what (plat) is on the agenda."

As long as there are no conditions attached to the Planing Board's approval, the plats should go before commissioners at their mid-month session, he said.

"There were two approved in either November or December that involved new streets," Price said. "One is going to commissioners next week, but one is not."

The reason it is being delayed is because the street has not been paved, Price said. He said that even if it wasn't going to commissioners, it would still be delayed because he would not record it until the work was completed.

The plat has to be recorded before lots can be sold.

Price said commissioners will have four plats to consider at their meeting on Tuesday.

Kornegay said he had heard no complaints from any of his clients about the new process and there has been no additional costs to his clients.

"We have had no problems with the subdivision changes," said County Manager Lee Smith. "I can report that three citizens have approached me and stated they thought it was a good idea to change the process ensuring that the board of commissioners was aware and a part of the process.

"These citizens had concerns about issues from the past in subdivisions that are now suffering from failing roads, signage, drainage issues, etc. They seemed pleased that the board of commissioners was taking a more active role as their elected officials in planning."