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Maggie Valley one step closer to UDO

Maggie Valley one step closer to UDO

Maggie Valley is one step closer to completing its unified development ordinance after Town Planner Kaitland Finkle presented a draft proposal to the town board during a workshop last week.

The draft UDO contains 14 zoning districts, up from the five zoning districts the town currently operates with. 

“It’s more of a targeted fit instead of a one size fits all, which is kind of the current ordinance,” said Town Manager Nathan Clark. 

Currently, residential properties in the town of Maggie Valley can be zoned low density residential (R1), medium density residential (R2), or high density residential (R3). Commercial properties in town limits can either be zoned for general business (C1) or neighborhood business (C2). 

The draft UDO proposes five distinct residential zones, four commercial zones, three mixed use zones and one town center zone. 

In the draft UDO, residential properties would be zoned R0 through R4. Rural residential (R0) is a brand-new zoning district intended for the extraterritorial-jurisdiction where people don’t have access to the town sewer and water system. This zoning requires one-half acre lot sizes. 

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Permissible units per acre will increase by one in each of the residential districts with two lots permitted per acre in the R0 zone, three lots per acre in R1, four lots per acre in R2 and five lots per acre in R3. 

The fourth residential district is reserved for short term residential (R4) properties and allows 14 units per acre. However, in order to comply with R4, the entire property must be owned by one entity who is then renting out units to others. This zone is intended for vacation communities, cottages, cabins and other short-term rental housing. Campgrounds and RV parks will only be permitted by special exception in this short-term residential zone. 

Maggie Valley has experienced contention  from residents and board members over several high density residential properties in recent months. By creating more specific zones with more narrow permitted uses, town staff hope to mitigate this problem. 

“These districts are a lot more narrow,” said Finkle. “It gives people the option to come in and say, ‘board, this is the property that I have, this is what I’d like to do on this property.’”

“By increasing the districts and then modifying the uses, you take a lot of the ambiguity away of the worst case scenario,” said Clark. “Here you’re going see a reduction in uses per zone, but you’re going have much more targeted zones to really fit what the actual requests are.”

Mixed use zones are also new for Maggie Valley in the draft UDO. These three districts allow a mix of high density residential and commercial uses. Each mixed-use district is intended for a certain geographical portion of Maggie — MU1 is the Soco Road mixed use district, MU2 is the Moody Farm Road mixed use district and MU3 is called Mixed Attractions and is intended for the Ghost Town property. 

Each of these districts allows for the same minimum lot size of 7,260 square feet. Setbacks and height allowances are also the same for the three mixed use districts, but the minimum lot width in the Soco Road mixed use district is 40 feet, while the minimum width in the other two districts is 75 feet. 

The four commercial districts in the draft UDO are community attractions (C1), neighborhood business (C2), gateways (C3) and community services (C4). Residential properties are permitted by right in the neighborhood business zone and by special exception in the three other commercial zones. 

“[Commercial districts] do still allow for residential uses because that’s something we’ve historically seen here in Maggie valley, some residential uses in our commercial district,” said Finkle. “So while they’re labeled commercial, they still do allow both.”

According to Finkle, the planning board is required to make a recommendation regarding the draft UDO to the town board. The planning board was supposed to have this done by the end of March, but Finkle says the board is hesitant and wants to review several parts of the draft. Finkle recommended the board of aldermen direct the planning board to give it a recommendation concerning the UDO, which requires the planning board to do so within 30 days. 

“If you direct them to give you a recommendation, it starts their clock of 30 days,” said Finkle. “And I think we are at the point where we cannot go beyond 30 days.”

The board of aldermen is planning to issue this directive to the planning board at its agenda setting meeting March 30 at 10 a.m. 

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