Design guideline hearing set for Nov. 8

by Sarah Melton

MOUNT HOLLY –The public will get its first chance to weigh in on proposed residential and commercial guidelines at a public hearing Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Mount Holly Citizen Center, 400 E. Central Ave.

The regulations would apply to single-family homes and commercial buildings within the zoning jurisdiction, city limits and the extraterritorial jurisdiction. The planning department researched surrounding cities and towns and found that many of them have adopted design regulations that apply to the appearance of newly constructed single-family homes and commercial buildings.

Some of the residential building guidelines are:

• Façade materials must be wood clapboard, wood shingle, wood drop siding, wood board and batten, brick, stone, masonry stucco or an approved vinyl.

• Garden walls in front of the yard will be constructed of brick, stone or masonry stucco.

• Fences in the rear yard can be constructed of any material.

• Accessory buildings greater than 300 square feet will be built in similar materials as the principal structure.

• Roofs shall be symmetrical gables or hips with a pitch between 4:12 and 10:12 and clad in wood shingles, standing seam metal, terne, slate or asphalt shingles.

Guidelines for commercial buildings include:

• Roofs will be simple forms, such as hip, flat, gable to front or gable to side, and avoid excessive articulation. Pitched roofs will be in wood shingles, standing seam metal, corrugated metal, slate, diamond tab asphalt shingles or similar material.

• All sides of the building will use materials consistent with those on the front if visible from a public street or way and should be carefully designed with similar detailing, comparable quality and compatible materials.

• Exterior metal or aluminum siding on buildings shall be prohibited on commercial zoning districts.

• Vinyl siding is discouraged, but may be appropriate for some civic, commercial and detached structures, only if typical or surrounding buildings.

• Parking will be placed to the side or rear of the building. Drive-thru service windows will be located at the rear façade of the building. Drive-thru windows will not be allowed on the front façade. Changes to parking and the drive-thru window may be allowed with approval through the city’s Board of Adjustment.

At a meeting Oct. 11, Councilman Jim Hope said he was concerned that the guidelines had too many “gray areas.”

“I am for regulations and guidelines, but me and my neighbor across the street could not build our home in the City of Mount Holly (under these guidelines),” he said. “It is our citizens I am concerned about that wants to be able to build a 12:12 pitch, that wants to use certain brick, that wants to be in the area itself.”

Mayor Bryan Hough said that he wanted to get input from respected and well-known builders and other towns on the proposed guidelines. Also, he was curious to hear what residents had to say about the guidelines.

“The problem is, how do you get to a good standard and it’s difficult,” the mayor said. “As (Councilman Perry) Toomey pointed out, there are exceptions all the way through. If I wanted a 12:12 pitch, is that really going to hurt the neighborhood? I think that is a great point, but it highlights that there are other points in there. This is difficult to do. It’s not plain and simple. It’s not an easy thing.”

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