Explanations of various development processes are available below.
A special use permit is required for development within special use districts (a district with no uses permitted by right) and for certain uses with unique or far-reaching consequences. Special use permits are reviewed by the Board of Adjustment at a monthly public hearing. This is a quasi-judicial review process.
The division of property for development is governed by the Unified Development Ordinance and applies to residential and nonresidential properties. The subdivision review process is determined by the number of proposed lots and may be reviewed by staff or the Board of Adjustment. Review by a board involves a public hearing and notice to nearby property owners. Subdivisions generally are reviewed in two phases. First, the preliminary plan is reviewed by the required board. If approved, this authorizes the development of infrastructure and roads. Once these improvements are in place or guaranteed with a bond, staff can approve the final plat, which creates the lots and makes them available for sale and development.
All property within the town’s jurisdiction is assigned to a particular zoning district. Most districts have a list of uses that are permitted “by right” (without review). Property owners may petition the town to have their property assigned to a different zoning district. This process is legislative. Applications are reviewed by the Planning Board and the Board of Commissioners at a quarterly public hearing. The Board of Commissioners, in deciding a rezoning, must indicate how the application complies with the town’s comprehensive plan, including the Future Land Use Map. The town cannot apply conditions to rezonings in general purpose districts. The boards must consider all of the permitted uses in the district and their desirability for the site requesting rezoning.
Annexation is the process by which the town expands its boundaries. Property owners can petition for annexation through the voluntary annexation process. The town analyzes the fiscal impact of potential annexations, as well as potential water use, before the Board of Commissioners votes. Extension of water and sewer service is generally only available to properties that are also annexed. The state defines whether an area is contiguous or satellite from the existing town limits and limits the land area that can be annexed via the satellite process. The town generally discourages annexation of land that is not contiguous to the existing city limits. Annexations require a public hearing and often are paired with a zoning request on the property. The town also has the option to pursue involuntary annexation of areas that meet criteria established in state law. The involuntary annexation process can take 18 months or longer. The town has used this option sparingly.
Site plan reviews are conducted by staff. Information is submitted detailing the building, parking, utilities, lighting and landscaping, as well as how stormwater will be controlled, how solid waste will be removed and how fire protection service will be provided. Staff does not have the authority to approve plans that do not comply with ordinance requirements. Plans are circulated among departments and divisions of town and county departments with development review authority. The Planning and Economic Development Division consolidates comments and acts as the liaison between the applicant and the rest of the town and county governments until the plans fully meet town and county requirements and are approved.
Many development activities are subject to public notice and public hearings. For items requiring public hearings, property owners within 500 feet of the subject property will receive a written notice of the hearing. This allows the affected neighbors to have the opportunity to provide comments to the boards.
Quasi-judicial proceedings require the deciding board to make findings of fact based on the application and testimony at the public hearing. Speakers at quasi-judicial hearings must be sworn in and are subject to cross-examination. Testimony at quasi-judicial hearings must be factual rather than anecdotal or subjective. Written comments, while accepted into the record, cannot be considered sworn testimony.
General purpose hearings for rezonings, annexations and other matters are legislative and do not require speakers to be sworn in or to provide objective testimony. Written comments also are accepted for general purpose hearings