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Stanly commissioners approve barns, sheds on certain vacant residential lots

The rights of landowners to build a shed on vacant land were expanded by the Stanly County Board of Commissioners.

At Monday’s meeting, commissioners voted 6-1, with Mike Barbee dissenting, to approve a text amendment to the county’s zoning ordinances.

The amendment allows landowners whose plots fall in certain residential districts to build a barn or shed on them.

Plots in RA, RR, R40, R20 and R10 residential districts which are three acres or greater can put up a building of up to 2,500 square feet.

The building must meet the setbacks required for a primary structure and can only be used for storage, farm or garden uses, or for equipment to maintain the property.

Those setbacks include the building’s side and rear being no less than 10 feet from the property line and 50 feet from the front.

Planning Director Bob Remsburg said over his years working for the county his office has been contacted hundreds of times by landowners with a question about keeping a bushhog or tractor on a piece of land.

“We get this question usually several times a week,” Remsburg said.

The county’s planning board made the recommendations regarding the size of the plot and the structure to commissioners.

On residential properties, a house would come first, he added. However, as the ordinance stood previously, if the shed was built first, a home’s first inspection would have to come six months later.

Barbee said he would like to have the minimum acreage for a plot to qualify to be two acres.

Later, Barbee moved to decrease the limit to two acres, seconded by Vice Chairman Tommy Jordan.

In the discussion of the motion, county attorney Jenny Furr noted if the board had approved two acres, notices may have had to go out again for another meeting. Two acres, she said, could be “a substantial change” which would require new notification of a future hearing.

Barbee said he believed the board was confusing commercial and residential land.

“If somebody wants to open a garage, he’s going to have to have it (rezoned) to commercial. Why are we worried so much about whether it’s two or three acres, as long as we keep it residential,” Barbee said.

Chairman Bill Lawhon said if the land is residential eventually a house has to be built there.

Jordan said he believes the subtext of making it three acres was “you don’t want somebody to slap up a shoddy building and stick it between two nice houses in a small chunk of land just to park his crap in and let it rust to pieces in five years.”

The motion to change it to two acres failed, 5-2, with Jordan and Barbee voting for the motion.

After a public hearing, in which no one spoke for or against the text amendment, Lawhon spoke about the original three-acre proposal.

“If someone has an acre and a half of land and they want to put a building on it, they need to come to zoning and request a variance,” Lawhon said. “We can still accommodate those citizens that have less than (three acres) if its approved.”

Jordan moved to approve the amendment with three acres, seconded by Zack Almond.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored twice by the North Carolina Press Association.

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