, 2015

Northumberland supervisors keep
existing tourist home zoning as is

by Renss Greene

HEATHSVILLE—The Northumberland board of supervisors on February 13 voted not to change zoning ordinances pertaining to tourist homes.

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From left are supervisors Richard Haynie and Jim Long, introducing a motion not to change zoning ordinances requiring a conditional use permit to open a tourist home.

After continuing the issue at its meeting in November 2013, the board arrived at its decision unanimously. Tourist homes will continue to require a conditional use permit to open, a process which requires a public hearing before the board of supervisors. The board had also considered allowing tourist homes by-right or closing tourist homes completely.

“I’m not sure whether we’re properly defining it, and I just wasn’t comfortable with doing either one,” board chairman Ronnie Jett said after the meeting. “I think the board needs some input on it, but I’m not sure exactly how much. We want to protect people’s property rights.”

“I think we should base each case individually, and maybe some other conditions that maybe they want to add, but I’m sure the board will make sure that we treat everybody fairly,” said board member Jim Long, who made the motion to leave the zoning ordinances unchanged.

The board also voted not to add a definition for what constitutes a transient in zoning law. The change would have specified that a transient is someone who occupies a home for less than 30 days, which would have limited tourist home leases to less than 30 days, since the word transient is used in the definition of a tourist home in zoning law.

“I would personally just rather us wait until we do further work on this stuff,” said board member Joe Self.

“Lancaster’s ordinance is almost word-for-word what ours is, other jurisdictions have not defined a specific time period, so right now, without knowing a whole lot more, I would rather keep it as is,” added board member Tommy Tomlin.

“I don’t think this is the end of the so called ‘tourist-home story.’ I don’t want to see a timeframe put on it, to just get some further additions or situations. Just investigate it and come up with some better wording for the future,” Jett said.

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