The purpose of this chapter is to provide regulations and standards for lot clustering in rural areas consistent with rural character. It does this by an alternative subdivision method for developing rural residential property, whereby landowners and developers are given incentives to cluster lots on the most buildable and least environmentally sensitive portions of sites, while retaining a substantial portion of each site, including most resource lands and environmentally sensitive areas, in restricted open space tracts. In order to take advantage of these incentives, landowners and developers are required to meet specific requirements called forth in this chapter, in the County’s rural land use policies, and in requirements that may be elsewhere referenced in the SCC.
Specifically, this chapter is designed:
(2) To preserve rural open space with the purpose of assuring continued viable undeveloped natural vegetated corridors for wildlife habitat, protection of watersheds, and preservation of wetlands and rural character;
(3) To produce a development pattern in rural areas consistent with rural character in accordance with rural land use policies and manifesting variety in design rather than uniformity of appearance in siting of clusters, placement of buildings, use of open space, more efficient use of the most buildable portion of sites, and retention of the environmentally sensitive and scenic portions of sites as permanent open space;
(4) To permit flexibility that will encourage a more creative approach in the development of land in rural areas and will result in a more efficient, aesthetic, and environmentally sound use of land, while harmonizing with adjoining development and preserving the county’s attractive rural character;
(5) To encourage the development of cluster housing which provides greater compatibility with surrounding development and land uses in rural areas by providing larger buffer areas;
(6) To encourage the retention of more permanently undisturbed open space with its natural vegetative cover which protects continued groundwater recharge and reduces potential water pollution, flooding, erosion and other drainage-related problems often associated with rural development;
(7) To minimize adverse impacts on the county’s productive agricultural, forestry, mineral and other important resource lands;
(8) To minimize adverse impacts on the county’s environmentally sensitive areas such as wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas, areas of unique vegetation or wildlife species, steep slopes, geologically hazardous areas, and other critical areas;
(9) To minimize the risk of danger to human life and property by restricting rural development on geologically unstable lands and in flood prone areas;
(10) To minimize the cost of installing essential public and private capital facilities necessary for a rural infrastructure;
(11) To support the provision of more affordable housing in rural areas;
(12) To provide reasonable opportunity for rural property owners to derive economic use of land characterized by features which substantially limit its development potential;
(13) To protect rural natural features and landscape by minimizing tree, vegetation, and soil removal;
(14) To provide a subdivision or short subdivision alternative for use in the rural/urban transition areas that will maintain and enhance rural character while preserving large tracts for future development upon inclusion into a UGA; and
(15) To require and promote the use of low impact development (LID) best management practices (BMPs) as directed by the Drainage Manual. (Added by Amended Ord. 02-064, Dec. 9, 2002, Eff date Feb. 1, 2003; Amended by Amended Ord. 06-061, Aug. 1, 2007, Eff date Oct. 1, 2007; Amended by Amended Ord. 08-087, Feb. 4, 2009, Eff date Apr. 5, 2009; Amended by Amended Ord. 17-070, Nov. 1, 2017, Eff date Dec. 1, 2017).