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Huntersville commissioners approve clustered-lot zoning

HUNTERSVILLE – Developers who want to create residential subdivisions with smaller, more tightly clustered lots in areas outside central Huntersville no longer have to ask the Board of Commissioners to bend the rules for them.

After considering the issues and options for months, the commissioners voted unanimously this week to create formulas in the town’s zoning ordinance allowing residential subdivisions in both rural and “transitional” areas of the town’s zoning jurisdiction to attain higher lot-density levels in exchange for leaving more natural areas undisturbed.

That makes Huntersville the latest in a series of Charlotte-area zoning authorities – ranging from Lancaster, S.C., to the town of Cornelius – to adopt clustered-subdivision zoning language as desirable, developable land becomes scarcer and costlier,
market demand for smaller lots swells, and public support grows for environmentally friendly developments.

Before Monday’s votes, developers had to ask the board to give them permission for every variance from the town’s prescribed density standards.

Now developers can apply for a flexible clustered-lot subdivision zoning.

In rural areas, developers can achieve a density of between 0.3 units to 0.9 units per acre by leaving 25 percent to 45 percent of the subdivision undeveloped.

In areas between rural and more densely populated central Huntersville, developers can get 0.5 units per acre at 20 percent open space and up to 1.5 units per acre at 40 percent.

Central Huntersville has no density restrictions.

The transitional-area amendment to Huntersville’s zoning code was requested in December by developer Bart Hopper of Hopper Communities and landowner Alex Barnette, a former town commissioner.

Jack Simoneau, Huntersville planning director, and planner Whitney Hodges recommended the Board of Commissioners also consider a clustered-lot subdivision zoning option in rural areas.

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