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BOC updates land use ordinance
FB DCN Government County

The Dawson County Board of Commissioners updated its Land Use Resolution during its Thursday, Dec. 19, voting session.

The updates included two new zoning classifications, a land use chart, and an update to the language of the ordinance mandating commissioners follow the future land use map exactly.

The first change was to further subdivide the zoning classification Residential Suburban. The original classification called for a density of one residential unit per acre. The two new categories establish a Residential Suburban classification that calls for two and three units per acre.

“Currently we don’t have anything between one (residential unit per acre) and six units per acre,” Dawson County Planning and Development Director Jameson Kinley. “So we need these two- and three-units-per-acre to try to move away from the Residential Multifamily. . . . But we don’t have a classification for that, so we tried to create those classifications to better feather the density per se from 400 out into these 5-acre lots.”

The resolution was also updated from mandating the commissioners follow the future land use map to allowing them the flexibility to approve rezoning applications they believe to be for the betterment of the community.

“I could only come up with two (other counties that have a mandate clause in their land use resolution) across the state,” said Angela Davis, the county’s attorney whose firm represents local governments across the state. “I think it’s very much the exception that there’s a mandatory compliance, and I think that’s in part because it works both ways. You know, a land use plan is supposed to be adopted at least every ten years, but it’s intended to last for a while. And so having that mandatory compliance does not give the opportunity to adjust for changing conditions, whether it be infrastructure or how the rest of the community builds out, that provides additional strain on infrastructure.”

“So that’s going to give us discretion,” commented Commissioner Sharon Fausett. “So if we had a public hearing, then what the citizens said could really carry weight.”

“The spirit of it is that it’s the guiding document,” said Commissioner Chris Gaines. “The comp. plan still has weight to it as the guiding document, but it’s not the end all, be all if something changes in two years and there’s a drastic change in the landscape and that we’re mandated. We can get feedback from citizens. 

This is the 15th time the Land Use Resolution has been amended since its initial adoption in 1998.

“Really since 1998, when this document was formed, it’s just kind of been updated piece by piece,” said Kinley. “This is really kind of an overall look — face lift, for lack of a better term.  

“And this is just the first update, too. The next thing that [we] are going to tackle is the commercial portion of this, which as far as from the planning standpoint, is actually huge for us,” added Kinley. “Moving forward with these tables is really going to help me and my staff and planning through different committees to help plan for the future. And hopefully after we get done with this, we will take another closer look at the future land use map so that we can take some of these principles and apply them into the long-range confidence plan.”