About two years ago, the Town of Waynesville hired a consultant and established a steering committee to consider "tweaking" the town's existing land use ordinance.
The staff report, in its summary of changes, fails to note a major change that would allow through a process called a "special use permit" maximum multifamily housing densities of up to 24 units per acre in what are existing well-established residential neighborhoods of modest mostly single-family homes. The current ordinance allowed densities of up to 16 units per acre in these neighborhoods.
I'm no expert on urban planning, and I'm not even sure that "urban" is an appropriate word for the quaint little mountain town I call home. As an engineer with a background in energy efficiency and sustainable design, I appreciate the benefits of higher density development, particularly where such density is supported by pedestrian-friendly access to necessary amenities like grocery stores and pharmacies. On the other hand, I have reviewed the planning ordinances for a couple of other small western NC towns that are similar in size and character to Waynesville, and find maximum housing densities to be in the range of 10-12 units per acre.
I appreciate the input of BlueNC members on this issue.