The Washington County Planning Commission gave the county's Land Development Code a long awaited update when they met in regular session Tuesday, May 6.
Some additions were as simple as adding to the definition of terms, while others addressed specific code changes.
Changes included new requirements for agricultural buffers, including a provision stating all new developments adjacent to agricultural lands or operations on parcels of 20 acres or more must provide a buffer to reduce the potential conflicts between agricultural and non-agricultural land uses.
The commission also placed a requirement to have special exceptions approved for the placement of Neighborhood Commercial placement in a Low/Medium or High Residential Use district, and developers will see more restrictions placed on what they can include in Planned Unit Developments (PUD).
The bulk of the changes addressed environmental issues, however, including provisions stating all mining operations must be site-specific county approval and proposing the prohibiting of all construction, except piers, docks, and landscaping within 100 feet of mean high water mark of Econfina Creek. The Commission also addressed the need to designate areas that fall within the 100-year floodplain as environmentally sensitive lands.
Recreational Vehicle Parks and campgrounds are proposed to be moved under Agricultural/Silvicultural District designation and will have additional criteria for density and intensity of development.
Additionally, all new subdivided areas must meet all DHRS Standards for advanced septic systems.
The county, partnering with the State and Northwest Florida Water Management District, will also pursue acquisition of parcels of land through the Preservation 2000 – Florida Forever program, the Conservation and Recreational Lands (CARL) program, the Florida Communities Trust or the Trust for Public Lands and other agencies to protect environmentally sensitive lands and unique, rare and endangered habitats and their wildlife.
In coordination with the Panama City-Bay International Airport, the Land Use Development Code proposed special emphasis to the section on Airport Protection Zone, proposing Airport Obstruction Height Zones, Wildlife Attractant Hazard Zone, 5-Mile Perimeter, 10-Nautical Mile Perimeter, and the 6-Nautical Mile Perimeter.
The Commission will host a Real Estate and Planning Workshop at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 15. This meeting is open to the public and will provide information on land planning and use changes, the planning commission itself and more. For more information, contact Senior Planner Michael DeRuntz at 415-5093.