SoCo planning to remap zoning districts

Published 11:10 am Friday, December 19, 2014

Following a brief public hearing on Monday evening, the Southampton County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the planning commission’s recommendation to revise the county’s current zoning ordinances in order to acknowledge the existence of small lots in the Nottoway Shores/Battles Beach subdivision.

This subdivision, which was plotted prior to the October 1968 adoption of zoning regulations in Southampton County, required landowners to apply for variances with the zoning committee every year.

“(The zoning district has) given out over 20 variances to the landowners in district so that they could build single family homes on the property,” said Beth Lewis, secretary for the planning commission, as she reiterated that those statistics are simply in reference to the dockside property. “Lots as small as 50 by 125 feet had to apply for variances every year under the old ordinance.”

Without the variances, the original zoning regulation only allowed landowners to build on 25 feet of land because of the language regarding front and rear setbacks.

The decision also permits further development of the current residential district, as it changes designation from ‘A1-Agricultural’ to ‘Recreational Residential’, and allows the planning commission to move forward with amending the zoning map in an upcoming session.

“It’s a two-step process,” she said. “The board of supervisors amended the ordinances in the zoning book at the meeting and now the zoning map no longer matches.

“The planning commission will have a public hearing in February and then make a recommendation to the board, who will then hold a public hearing in March before approving the recommended changes.”