Dwelling Limits Clarified In Cumberland

Published 1:09 pm Thursday, June 18, 2015

CUMBERLAND — County supervisors in Cumberland have unanimously approved a code amendment to clarify regulations on adding dwellings on a single residential parcel.

“Over the years, there have been a variety of interpretations of the zoning ordinance regarding second and additional dwellings,” said County Planning Director Sara Carter in a May memo to County Administrator and Attorney Vivian Giles and the board of supervisors. “In order to ensure that all citizens are treated fairly and equally over time, the planning commission decided to explore language to address additional dwellings on a single parcel.”

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The supervisors’ action followed a May public hearing.

The approved County code amendment states that one additional single-family dwelling may be permitted on the same lot or parcel of land as the main dwelling provided that the parcel meets the bulk area requirements and setbacks for the zoning district with a second dwelling. Additionally, all local and state regulations must be met and provision for access must be made.

The amendment also allows one additional unit per 25 acres of land for farm workers residing on the property, provided that all approved conditions are met.

In the past, residents had been told that they could only place one dwelling on a tract of land and, in order to build additional residential structures, they would be required to subdivide the property. In more recent years, due to the lack of formal written regulations, residential zoning was interpreted to allow a resident to build as many structures as bulk regulations and setbacks would allow.

The concern the planning commission had previously, according to Carter, was with someone creating what was not a subdivision but had all the impacts of a subdivision without having any regulation.

Instead of the issue being open to various interpretations and subjecting residents to a wavering standard, Carter confirmed the regulation would ensure that all Cumberland residents receive fair treatment regarding how they choose to use their property.

The commission recommended the code amendment.