Public concern leads to changes in zoning ordinance

By Lesley Jenkins
Star staff

   The monthly meeting of the Carter County Planning Commission brought about many changes to the county's zoning ordinance approved in October. The changes were the result of concerns expressed by some Carter Countians, according to Planning Director Chris Schuettler.
   One concern was whether or not the staff of the planning office could enter onto the premises that they are inspecting. The word "premise" was changed to clarify that a premise is "a distinct portion of land or real estate not inclusive to a single family residential structure. In terms of other than single family residential, premise will also include land and structure," according to Schuettler.
   Many people asked Schuettler during public meetings, held before couty-wide zoning was approved, about the rights of the enforcement officer, described in paragraph 801 of the zoning ordinance. It states, "This official (enforcement officer) shall have the right to enter upon any premises, as defined in this ordinance."
   Because of the change, Schuettler and his employees will not be allowed to enter the a single family dwelling without permission. Defining "this will take away powers we never assumed before," said Schuettler.
   Another change pertained to the adult-oriented business section. Now paragraph 203 does not include the "exposure of the 'specified anatomical areas' as defined in Section 248 and/or sexual enticement or excitement."
   Schuettler also clarified some additional questions about the necessity of purchasing building permits for slight additions to a home. He was asked questions such as: "If I put shingles on my house, do I have to buy a permit? If I add a door, do I have to buy a permit?" To these questions, he answered, "No. You do not have to buy a permit unless you change the foot print of the structure."
   In other business, the commission approved a rezoning on Old Watauga Road. This change added another 15 acres to the B-3 zone. This area will be included into the future Northern Connector Highway.
   The next meeting of the Planning Commission will be Jan. 27, 2004 at 3 p.m.