DOBSON — The public will have an opportunity to weigh in on some proposed zoning changes Thursday evening, and the town manager will present his recommended budget to the town’s board of commissioners.
At its meeting on Thursday, the Dobson Board of Commissioners will consider some text changes to the town’s zoning ordinance.
Town Manager Josh Smith said one of the changes regards livestock in residential areas and another amendment would provide conditions under which car lots may be operated. Both changes are meant to clarify existing language included in the town’s zoning ordinance.
Raising livestock within the town limits is allowed if property is zoned for agriculture. The town’s zoning ordinance also allows town officials to issue a permit allowing residents in residential areas to raise livestock under certain conditions. However, those conditions aren’t defined.
The proposed language would set conditions such as capping the number of female chickens on a residential lot at five. Roosters would not be permitted. All animals would have to be contained in an enclosure which provides 10 square feet of living space for each bird, and the animals would not be allowed to be contained in a front or side yard under the proposed language.
Larger livestock would also be allowed. However, a parcel must provide at least 20,000 square feet for each animal, and a barn would have to be constructed at least 50 feet from a property line under the amendment.
Minimum sizes for automobile sales lots would be set by another amendment to the zoning ordinance. The lot would have to be large enough to provide one and a half parking spaces per vehicle displayed. It would also bar any maintenance on vehicles at the lot unless the parcel is zoned as an “auto repair garage,” and a car lot would be required to maintain an office at the site.
Since the new language will amend the town’s zoning ordinance a public hearing is required and will take place at the board’s meeting.
Smith will convey the details of his proposed budget to town commissioners on Thursday.
According to Smith’s budget message, the recommended budget will increase town expenditures in the 2017-18 fiscal year to a little more than $3 million, a 7-percent increase over the current fiscal year’s budget.
The budget includes nearly $1.5 million in general fund expenditures, a 9-percent increase over the town’s 2016-17 fiscal year budget. Smith attributes much of the increase to a $100,000 expenditure for roadway resurfacing.
Should the budget see passage, the town’s property tax rate of 38 cents per every $100 in value will remain the same.
However, Smith has proposed an increase to the town’s water rate. The 10-cent increase would bring the rate to $3.10 for every 1,000 gallons of water used.
Smith’s budget message also notes that he has proposed an increase of 50 cents to the town’s sewer rate. If approved, the increase would bring the town’s volumetric sewer rate to $4.85 per every 1,000 gallons of water used.
Smith notes the increases will allow the town to hire an additional employee to be paid from both the town’s water and sewer funds. He hopes the move will increase “efficiency, effectiveness and morale” in the public works department, allowing the town to better serve its customers.
Per state statute, the town board must hold a public hearing on the proposed budget prior to its passage. The message notes that the hearing is likely to be scheduled at the town board’s June meeting, which is set to occur on June 22.
Thursday’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. at Dobson Town Hall, which is located at 307 North Main St.