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Neighborhoods  |  Glossary of Terms
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HOME GLOSSARY OF TERMS RELEVANT CODES KEY CONTACTS EVENTS

“By-right” Development
Development that is allowed by the existing zoning.  There is no decision needed by the Board of Supervisors or Planning Commission on a by-right development proposal.

Bylaw
For an HOA, bylaws are the guidelines for the HOA Board of Directors and the organization itself. Bylaws outline HOA meeting frequency, elections, officer duties, voting procedures, etc.

Charrette
An intensive planning session where citizens, designers, and others collaborate on a vision for development. It provides a forum for ideas and offers a unique advantage of providing immediate feedback to the designers and encourages participation for all the stakeholders involved in the project.

Common areas
In condominium and some planned neighborhoods, the areas not owned by an individual owner or residence, but shared by all owners, either by percentage interest or owned by the management organization. Common areas may include recreational facilities, outdoor space, parking, landscaping, fences, laundry rooms, and all other jointly used space.

Comprehensive Plan
A guiding document that reflects the County’s long-term vision for itself. It is not zoning and it is not the law – but it helps guide decision-making on land development, budgets, services, capital expenditures on schools, streets, and the like.

Conservation easement
A legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of land in order to protect its conservation value. An easement’s purpose can be to maintain and improve the land’s water quality, maintain and improve wildlife habitat and migration corridors, protect scenic vistas visible from roads and other public areas, or ensure that lands are managed so that they are always available for sustainable agriculture and forestry.

Covenant
For an HOA, covenants are the legally binding guidelines for the community. Covenants usually contain regulations and restrictions that homeowners must follow for the exterior of the home and landscaping, among others.

Dues
Membership fees paid to HOAs by property owners who live within the neighborhood boundaries. Dues help pay to for the ongoing operation, maintenance, repair, and replacement for common areas. A portion of the dues collected also goes into the reserve fund.

Easement
A grant to use someone else’s land for a specified purpose.

GIS
Geographical Information System; a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of spatial of geographical data.

(Future) Land Use Map
This map is an important element of the Comprehensive Plan -- a depiction of desired future land uses that helps guide decisions.

Lien
The legal claim of one person upon the property of another person to secure the payment of a debt or the satisfaction of an obligation.

Private road
A road owned and maintained by a private individual, organization, or company rather than by a government. The most common type of private road is a residential road maintained by a homeowners association, housing co-op, or a group of individual homeowners.

Public access easement
A grant to use private land for the purpose of public access, such as to access a public park or river, or for a trail.

Public road
Any road or street under the jurisdiction of a public authority and open to public travel.

Reserves
A type of savings account or fund commonly maintained by HOAs for large, infrequent, or unexpected area costs, especially to common areas.

Right-of-way (ROW, or R/W)
Right-of-way provides a right to “make way” over a piece of land. Right-of-way can be used for roadways, bike lanes, sidewalks, or multi-use paths and trails. Right-of-way could also be used for utilities, including pipelines, underground communication cables, and power lines.

Site Plans
The depiction of the physical changes planned for a property such as placement of buildings, parking, stormwater management, sidewalks, etc. Site plans are administratively approved or disapproved.  If a developer meets the regulations, then the County is obligated to provide approval.

Special Use Permit
In each zoning district, there are “special uses” listed that are reviewed for their appropriateness at the location requested.  For instance, a drive-through might be appropriate at one location and not another.  The County provides notice through letters to adjoining owners and notice in the newspaper. These actions require a public hearing from the Planning Commission and a decision by the Board of Supervisors.

Stormwater BMP
Stormwater Best Management Practices; a term used to describe a type of water pollution control. These include techniques, measures, or structural controls used to manage the quantity and improve the quality of stormwater runoff.

Subdivision Plat
The depiction of the surveyed boundaries of properties, including the location of streets and easements.  Plats may be for residential lots or non-residential lots. Subdivision plats are administratively approved or disapproved.  If a developer meets the regulations, then the County is obligated to provide approval.

TMDL
Total Maximum Daily Controls; a calculation in the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still safely meet water quality standards.

Utility Easement
An easement to allow the laying of utility infrastructure on private land – including power lines, pipelines, or underground communication cables.

Zoning Map
A part of the Zoning Ordinance -- it shows the specific zoning districts.

Zoning Map Amendment
Commonly called a “rezoning” – a developer or landowner’s request to have different zoning regulations placed on his/her property.  The County provides notice through letters to adjoining owners and notice in the newspaper. These actions require a public hearing from the Planning Commission and a decision by the Board of Supervisors.

Zoning Ordinance
The text and map defining what uses may occur in certain places and how those uses are regulated -- the law.
 

 


 
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