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(1) All resource conservation areas shall be unoccupied or predominately unoccupied by buildings or other impervious surfaces. Unoccupied or predominately unoccupied by buildings or other impervious surfaces shall mean that not more than 5% of the area of any resource conservation area shall be occupied by such surfaces.
(2) Resource conservation areas shall be identified on plats as being permanently set aside from development, passive uses pursuant to this chapter. No resource conservation area shall be counted towards lot area required by §§ 155.200 through 155.204, with the exceptions for stream buffers pursuant to G.S. § 143-214.23A. This shall not preclude the platting of lots in such areas, provided that adequate lot area outside the resource conservation area is provided to meet the minimum lot area requirements of §§ 155.200 through 155.204.
(3) No resource conservation area shall be counted towards the recreation and open space requirements as set forth in §§ 155.200 through 155.204, with the exceptions for stream buffers pursuant to G.S. § 143.214.23A, except developed greenway or greenway-access or water-access facilities may be counted provided they are developed to the standards of this chapter.
(B) Determination of resource conservation areas. The following are considered resource conservation areas and shall be unoccupied or predominately unoccupied by buildings or other impervious surfaces.
(1) The 100-year floodplain;
(2) Stream buffer areas;
(3) Slopes above 25% of at least 5,000 square feet contiguous area; and
(4) Jurisdictional wetlands under federal law that meet the definition applied by the United States Army Corps of Engineers.
(C) Resource conservation areas shown on plat. All resource conservation areas shall be shown on any preliminary or final plat approved after January 1, 2006.
(D) Permitted uses of resource conservation areas. Uses of resource conversation areas may include the following:
(1) Conservation areas for natural, archeological or historical resources;
(2) Meadows, woodlands, wetlands, wildlife corridors, game preserves, or similar conservation-oriented areas;
(3) Agriculture, horticulture, silviculture or pasture uses, provided that all applicable best management practices are used to minimize environmental impacts;
(4) Walking or bicycle trails;
(5) Easements for drainage, access, and underground utility lines;
(6) Other conservation-oriented uses compatible with the purposes of this chapter; and
(7) Public infrastructure projects and supporting facilities.
(E) Prohibited uses of resource conservation areas. Use of resource conservation areas may not include the following:
(1) Stormwater control measures;
(2) Roads, parking lots and impervious surfaces, except as specifically authorized; and
(3) Golf courses, agricultural and forestry activities not conducted according to accepted best management practices.
(F) Ownership and maintenance.
(1) Ownership. Resource conservation areas shall be accepted and owned by one of the following entities:
(a) Land conservancy or land trust. The responsibility for maintenance shall be borne by a land conservancy or land trust.
(b) Homeowners association. A homeowners association representing residents of the subdivision shall own the resource conservation areas. Membership in the association shall be mandatory and automatic for all homeowners of the subdivision and their successors. The homeowners' association shall have lien authority to ensure the collection of dues from all members. The responsibility for maintenance shall be borne by the homeowner's association.
(c) Private landowner. A private landowner may retain ownership of the resource conservation areas. The responsibility for maintenance shall be borne by the private landowner.
(2) Maintenance. Resource conservation area maintenance is limited to removal of litter, dead tree and plant materials and brush. Natural water courses are to be maintained as free-flowing and devoid of debris. Stream channels shall be maintained so as not to alter floodplain levels. Unless otherwise specified by the Town Council, maintenance is limited to insuring that there exist no hazards, nuisances or unhealthy conditions.
(3) Legal instrument for permanent protection.
(a) Resource conservation areas shall be protected in perpetuity by a binding legal instrument that is recorded with the deed.
(b) The instrument for permanent protection shall include clear restrictions on the use of the of resource conservation area. These restrictions shall include all restrictions contained in this section, as well as any further restrictions the applicant chooses to place on the use of the resource conservation areas. Where appropriate, the instrument shall allow for stream or habitat restoration.
(Ord. 2005-11-02, passed 11-21-05 ; Am. Ord. 2021-02-02, passed 2-15-21)