On Monday, March 12 the McDowell County Commissioners voted to pass a new Watershed Ordinance to include the Lake James Watershed in anticipation of using the lake as a county water source. There was little “pre-publication” of the ordinance that we could find but below is what we were able to get from the county manager after the meeting.

The layers of the newly impacted areas can be found on the McDowell County GIS website published as layers (you can click on the image below to get to the site):

The language of the ordinance is as follows:

D)WS-IV Watershed Areas – Critical Area (WS-IV-CA).  Only new development activities that require an erosion/sedimentation control plan under State law or approved local program are required to meet the provisions of this ordinance when located in a WS-IV watershed.  In order to address a moderate to high land use intensity pattern, single family residential uses are allowed at a maximum of two (2) dwelling units per acre.  All other residential and non-residential development shall be allowed at a maximum of twenty-four percent (24%) built-upon area.  New residuals application sites and landfills are specifically prohibited.  

(1)  Allowed Uses:

(a)  Agriculture subject to the provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985 and the Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990 and the rules and regulations of the Soil and Water Conservation Commission.  

(b)  Silviculture, subject to the provisions of the Forest Practices Guidelines Related to Water Quality (15 NCAC 1I.0101-.0209). 

(c)  Residential. 

(d)  Non-residential development, excluding:   1) landfills and 2) sites for land application of residuals or petroleum contaminated soils. 

(2)  Density and Built-upon Limits: 

(a)  Single Family Residential–development shall not exceed two dwelling units per acre on a project by project basis.  No residential lot shall be less than one-half (1/2) acre (or 20,000 square feet excluding roadway right-of-way), except within an approved cluster development. 

(b)  All Other Residential and Non-Residential–development shall not exceed twenty-four percent (24%) built-upon area on a project by project basis.  For the purpose of calculating the built-upon area, total project area shall include total acreage in the tract on which the project is to be developed.

 

(E) WS-IV Watershed Areas (Catawba River)- Protected Area ( WS-IV-PA). Only new development activities that require an erosion/ Sedimentation control plan under state law or approved local government program are required to meet the provisions of this ordinance when located in a WS-IV watershed. In order to accommodate a moderate to high land use intensity, single family residential uses shall develop at a maximum of two (2) dwelling units per acre (2du/ac). All other residential and non-residential development shall be allowed at a maximum of 24% built-upon area. A maximum of three (3) dwelling units per acre (3 du/ac) or thirty six percent (36%) built –upon area is allowed for projects without a curb and gutter street system.

(1) Uses Allowed:

 (a) Agriculture, subject to the provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985 and the Food,    Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990.

(b) Silviculture, subject to the provisions of the Forest Practices Guidelines Related to Water Quality (15 NCAC 11. 6101-0209) 

            (c) Residential development

             (d) Non-residential development

Density and Built-upon Limits:

(a)   Single Family Residential—development shall not exceed two (2) dwelling units per acre, as defined on a project by project basis. No residential lot shall be less than one-half (1/2) acre (or 20,000 square feet excluding roadway right-of-way), or one-third (1/3) acre for projects without a curb and gutter street system, except within an approved cluster development.      

(b)   All other residential and non-residential –development shall not exceed twenty-four percent (24%) built-upon area on a project by project basis. For projects without a curb and gutter street system, development shall not exceed thirty-six percent (36%) built-upon area on a project by project basis. For the purpose of calculating built-upon area, total project area shall include acreage in the tract on which the project is to be developed.

(c)    In addition to the development allowed under paragraphs (a) and (b) above, new development and expansions shall occupy up to ten percent (10%) of the protected area with up to seventy percent (70%) built-upon area on a project by project basis, when approved as a special intensity allocation (SIA). The Watershed Administrator is authorized to approve SIAs consistent with the provisions of this ordinance. Projects must, to the maximum extent practicable, minimize built-upon surface area. Direct storm water away from surface waters and incorporate Best Management Practices to minimize water quality impacts. For the purpose of calculating built-upon area, total project area shall be included in total acreage in the tract on which the project is to be developed.

 

Questions can be directed to Ron Harmon McDowell County Planning Administrator

828-652-7121

rharmon@mcdowellgov.com