Critical Areas Ordinance Update

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Understanding the Critical Aquifer Recharge Area Section 
of the Critical Areas Ordinance Update

1. Who is impacted by the changes proposed regarding the Critical Aquifer Recharge Area?

The proposed changes would impact property owners in low-density residential areas (e.g. areas outside of the Winslow Town Center, neighborhood centers, and the Business/Industrial areas) only if they take action on their property that creates greater than 800 square feet of hard surfaces or cause more than 7000 square feet of land disturbing activity.

2. What does this mean for impacted properties?

Impacted property owners (defined above) will have to designate up to 65% of their property as a Native Vegetation Protection Area (NVPA). The exact percentage of property (not to exceed 65%) would be determined by the current conditions of the property. For example, if a property is currently 100% pasture, then zero percent of the property would need to be designated as a NVPA. If the property is 50% native vegetation (i.e. forested area), then only 50% would need to be designated as NVPA. If the property is 100% native vegetation, then 65% would need to be designated.

Existing properties do not automatically have a NVPA with the adoption of the new critical areas ordinance. If you are not proposing something meeting the square footage thresholds above, your property does not have a NVPA.

3. How will this impact the development potential (density) of my property?

All properties will retain their existing allowable density (i.e., development rights) as determined by the size of the property and zoning designation.

This means when land is subdivided and new lots are created the development might look more compact, but it will not be any more or less dense.
See attached image below from NC State University Conservation Subdivision Handbook as an example

4. Will my property values be impacted by these proposed changes?

There a number of factors that determine the value of your property (e.g. market supply and demand, consumer tastes and preferences, future development, development potential). Though it is difficult to predict how this ordinance will impact a number of these factors, we can say with confidence that the development potential of your property will not be impacted by the proposed changes. This designation is “density neutral” – it maintains your property’s development potential at the density currently allowed by the property’s zoning.

5. How can I learn more and share my input on these proposed changes?

More information on the update is available on the City website:…/Critical-Areas-Ordinance-Upda…. The comment period is open through Monday, November 20. Comments can be submitted in writing or by email to The City Council will consider adopting the proposed changes during their meeting on Tuesday, November 28. For more questions regarding the impacts of the changes on your property contact Christy Carr at 206.780.3719.