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Easement issue before planning board

POSTED: August 23, 2012 2:00 p.m.

A moratorium on Forsyth County’s definition of a lot size is on its way to becoming a permanent change in the unified development code.

The local planning board discussed Tuesday whether to include easements in the calculation of lot size, which affects other zoning requirements.

In the existing code, easements are excluded from lot size calculation only in areas that are already unbuildable, planning director Tom Brown said.

The language in the code and the past interpretation did not match up, Brown said, so commissioners adopted a 90-day moratorium Aug. 16 on the definition.

That resolution states that a “reasonable interpretation of this definition is that all easements — irrespective of whether in a setback or buffer — count toward reducing lot size.”

Brown explained that an extreme case could cause a lot to be practically unbuildable or present problems for homeowners on their current properties.

The planning board considered whether to recommend extending the moratorium that all easements be excluded from lot size calculations or to clear up the current language to be more specific about what is and is not included.

Chairwoman Pam Livesay and the board seemed to lean toward eliminating all easements from the calculation.

“When it comes down to permitting, you couldn’t build on the easement anyway,” Livesay said.

The board will hold a public hearing to get feedback on the issue at its Aug. 28 meeting.



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