Options for determining compatibility standards

Area Performance Planning is about protecting property owners and Spartanburg County’s rich cultural, historical and natural destinations, while simultaneously encouraging sound economic growth. Under the draft ordinance, Area Performance Planning provides the flexibility to accommodate market principles while balancing private property rights.

To accomplish these goals, APP sets forth a set of compatibility standards for aspects such as height, setbacks and buffers. Read more about those guidelines here. A project seeking a zoning permit with compatibility standards less than those outlined through the Area Performance Planning draft ordinance must utilize one of three following methods to determine compatibility:

– Property Owner Consent Agreement: If the owner of any protected property wishes to sanction the selection of a lesser specific restriction, such consent shall be noted on a form provided by Spartanburg County. This consent shall become valid only upon verification by the Zoning Administrator and attachment to the applicable zoning permit. Think of this as the “good neighbor” aspect of the proposed guidelines. If both you and your neighbor agree to reducing buffer or setback requirements, for example, then this draft ordinance provides an avenue for that flexibility.

– Board of Zoning Appeals Variance Request: If the process does not produce the compatibility restrictions desired by the applicant requesting a zoning permit, the applicant may apply to the Board of Zoning Appeals for a decision. Once the Board renders a decision, the applicant may not utilize the process outlined in the previous paragraph unless significant aspects of the permit request have been modified or the ownership of the protected property has changed.

– Planned Developments and Mixed Uses: In the development of a subdivision or other new developments that may contain a variety of activities, the internal compatibility standards shall be determined by the design of the project. Internal shall be defined as those compatibility standards intended to determine the relationship between properties contained wholly within the boundaries of the project.

On the last point, providing flexibility for planned development and mixed-use projects makes it easier to construct projects that are fast-becoming desirable within markets nationwide. These developments seek to combine a variety of housing types, commercial and recreational activities, typically within a higher-density footprint, and this internal flexibility with the application of these standards is given to achieve a maximum level of creativity in laying the foundation for the project. The Advisory Committee has made clear that having a clear path forward for these type of developments is an important outcome for this process.

As always, you can read more about each of these aspects of the Area Performance Planning process in the draft ordinance here.

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