Residential Real Estate

Board receives update on subdivision lot standards

By Stephanie Meador, posted 1 year ago
Photo courtesy of Cumberland County

The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners received an update on Subdivision Lot Standards from Planning and Inspections Director Rawls Howard during their Dec. 8, 2022, agenda session.

Howard came before the Board following direction at its October 13 agenda session to solicit feedback from the Planning Board and the development community on options for a possible amendment to the County’s Subdivision Ordinance regarding Zero Lot Line subdivisions. He said that staff reached out to the Home Builders Association of Fayetteville to request feedback and received input from the Planning Board at its November 15 meeting.

Howard provided potential options to Commissioners, including:

  • Option 1: Removing single-family developments from the definition of “Zero Lot Line” and inserting standards to allow for Variable Lot Residential Developments. This option allows lot reductions administratively of up to 25 percent and sets standards for how the maximum number of lots and open space are calculated. Exercising this option would require that the development connect to public water and sewer.
  • Option 2: This option included all of the above adjustments, but allows septic and wells if feasible and allows developers to provide a fee-in-lieu of open space dedication in accordance with current subdivision regulations.

Following the presentation, the Board directed staff to prepare a text amendment based on Option 2 to go before the Planning Board for consideration before coming back to the Board of Commissioners.


*According to Rawls Howard, Cumberland County Director of Planning and Inspections, option 2 "provides developers greater flexibility in choosing how compliance with the new standards can be met without sacrificing specific lot dimensional requirements. Much of the unincorporated portion of Cumberland County is rural, meaning there is not always convenient access to water and sewer, so the option of allowing wells and septic if feasible seemed reasonable from staff’s perspective."

Howard went on to explain what to expect if the ordinance is passed. “If passed, the new ordinance will allow greater predictability for the public on how residential lot sizes are platted and developed. The new standard would allow for some flexibility for lot approvals administratively. Deviations outside of these administrative allowances would still be possible, but would require some form of review and approval from a pertinent board. Any square footage space reserved for residential builds would have to follow respective zoning and land use standards prescribed in the adopted zoning and subdivision ordinance. Again, the proposal that is now moving forward for consideration was a compromise that seeks to address concerns regarding these developments while also incorporating input from the development community.”


*Additional information added 12/12/22

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