COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

Uncontrolled Vegetation Ordinance

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Adoption of an Ordinance Limiting Height of Uncontrolled Vegetation in the Development Areas

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

Messrs. Tucker, Foley, Davis, Herrick, Graham and Heide; and Ms. McCulley

 

LEGAL REVIEW:   Yes

 

AGENDA DATE:

September 2, 2009

 

ACTION:     X          INFORMATION: 

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

  ACTION:             INFORMATION: 

 

ATTACHMENTS:   Yes

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

BACKGROUND:

At its June 3 work session, the Board discussed issues related to a proposed ordinance to regulate uncontrolled vegetation, and directed staff to prepare an ordinance for the Board’s consideration. Specifically, the Board directed staff to prepare an ordinance to:

a.                   apply to most properties except those in the Rural Areas zoning district;

b.                   apply to a perimeter of undeveloped properties adjacent to roads and other properties;

c.                   include an exemption for “natural landscaping;”

d.                   limit the maximum height of uncontrolled vegetation to twelve (12) inches; and

e.                   provide a responsive rather than proactive enforcement program.

 

STRATEGIC PLAN:

Goal 1:  Enhance Quality of Life for All Citizens.  This goal includes an objective to “increase the economic vitality of the County’s development areas.”

 

DISCUSSION:

In considering areas where an uncontrolled vegetation ordinance is either not enabled or not advisable, staff developed a proposed list of exceptions to the ordinance beyond just the Rural Areas District.  Most of these more general exemptions (such as for public park land, open space and the like) were found to be consistent with those found in other localities’ ordinances.  The following are proposed for ordinance exemptions:

a)   the corporate limits of the Town of Scottsville;

b)   the Monticello Historic District;

c)   the Rural Areas District;

d)   areas used for pastures, under cultivation, forested, or subject to utility transmission easements;

e)   areas where the vegetative growth is regulated under state or federal laws or programs;

f)    any stream buffer required by County ordinance or protected under permanent conservation easement;

g)   areas under an approved plan of natural landscaping;

h)   property designated through an approved zoning or subdivision plat as open space, green space, conservation or preservation area and that is intended to remain in its natural state;

i)    public park lands; or

j)    stormwater management facilities such as detention ponds.

 

Zoning and General Services staff has established mowing procedures for when an owner fails to control the vegetation on his own property and County action is required to mow the vegetation.  The ordinance provides for recovery of the County’s cost associated with such mowing.  Because the County may use the mowing contractor already under contract with General Services, the enforcement program is proposed to be funded through General Services.  The proposed ordinance also allows for the imposition of civil penalties for violation of the ordinance as a further deterrent.

 

BUDGET IMPACT:

Implementation of this program is estimated to require $3,000 in recurring funding for the General Services Department to pay for mowing services.  After implementation of the ordinance, the amount of annual funding will need to be reviewed based on actual costs of the program.  The initial funding is proposed to be appropriated from the Board’s contingency.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

After the public hearing, staff recommends that the Board adopt the attached ordinance.

 

ATTACHMENTS:

A - Proposed Uncontrolled Vegetation Ordinance

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