Henderson County 2045 Comprehensive Plan public hearing December 5

The Henderson County Planning Board will hold a special meeting December 1 at 5:30 p.m. at the King Street Meeting Room in the County Administration Building (100 North King Street, Hendersonville) to consider the county’s 2045 Comprehensive Plan.

On December 5 at 5:30 p.m. in the Historic Courthouse, the Henderson County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the county’s Plan.

From the Hendersonville Lightning, a report on an earlier community meeting on the plan:

“[Christopher Todd, Henderson County director of business and community development,] also described one of the plan’s ‘key recommendations’ — a voluntary farmland preservation program. Tentatively named APPLE — for Agriculture Preservation and Protection of Land and Economy — the program “would enable the county to buy development rights to agricultural land, thereby protecting it from development,” according to the comp plan presentation.

“We know that agricultural land maybe has less commercial market value because you’re not putting a hundred homes on it in order to sell it off,” Todd told the Edneyville residents. A program to buy development rights would compensate the farmer for the difference in the farmland price and a “highest and best use” price, conserving the land forever for agriculture use. “There are different programs about how people go about that, but that’s the general idea.”

He noted, too, that farming is unrestricted in the county’s current plan and would be in the 2045 draft plan.

“There is no part of this plan today where agriculture is not allowed,” he said. “You can do agriculture in any part of Henderson County today by right as a use. That is intended to stay in the continuing document. I’m not talking about necessarily within the municipal limits — they’ve got their own laws. In Henderson County (outside cities) you can do agriculture under our land-use law.”

What is low density?

Edneyville residents also wanted to know whether the new comp plan will lead to high-density housing. Although the plan generally steers high-density development to urban service areas on the outskirts of Hendersonville and Fletcher, the exact number of homes per acre is a topic that has caused the plan drafters consternation.

“Some people may say that one house per acre is low density,” Todd said. “Some people may say that one house per 10 acres is low density. People have varying numbers and it’s somewhat of a gut check and a perception. That’s the thing that the Planning Board actually publicly struggled with — what does low density mean? Is that one and a half units per acre? Is it something more, something a little bit less? Because we’re getting that question from folks like yourselves, and that’s something that eventually — especially when this becomes law not just policy — that number is going to have to be codified.”

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