§ 154.005  DEFINITIONS.
   For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
   ACCESSORY USE OR BUILDING. A subordinate use or building customarily incidental to and located on the same lot occupied by the main use or building, provided that such ACCESSORY BUILDING shall not be used for dwelling purposes.
   AGENT. The officer or agency or both of them designated by the Board of Supervisors to review and approve the subdivision of land and the plats of such subdivision when located wholly or partly within the county.
   ALLEY. A public or private way affording secondary means of access to abutting property.
   BERM. A mound of soil, either natural or human-made, planted with grass or other vegetation, and used as a view obstruction or for water control.
   BUFFER. An area within a property or site, generally adjacent to and parallel with the property line or designated natural feature, either consisting of natural existing vegetation or created by the use of trees, shrubs, fences, and/or berms, designed to continuously limit view of and/or sound from the site to adjacent sites or properties or to maintain vegetation, absorb runoff, or protect steep slopes and shorelines.
   BUILDING. Any structure having a roof supported by columns or walls, for the housing or enclosure of persons, animals, or property of any kind.
   BUILDING LINE or BUILDING SETBACK LINE. A line within a lot, so designated on a plat of subdivision, between which line and any lot line, the street line of any abutting street, or any slope, waterway, shoreline, or wetland or other feature as herein designated, no building or structure may be erected except as herein provided.
   BUILDING SETBACK. The minimum distance that a building must be set back from a street, lot line, or other feature as required by a building setback line so designated on a plat of subdivision. The BUILDING SETBACK may be more but shall not be less than required in this chapter.
   CAPPED SYSTEM. A completed water supply and/or sewerage system put in place for future use (contingent upon expansion or availability at connections), rather than to meet immediate development needs.
   CEMETERY. Any land or structure used or intended to be used for the interment of human remains, with or without sale of lots. The sprinkling of ashes or their burial in a biodegradable container shall not constitute creation of a CEMETERY.
   CHANNEL. The bed and banks of a natural stream which convey the constant or intermittent flow of the stream.
   CHANNELIZATION. The straightening and deepening of channels and/or the surfacing thereof to permit water to move rapidly and/or directly.
   COMMISSION. The Richmond County Planning Commission.
   COMMON OPEN SPACE. An open space area as herein defined within or related to a site designated as a development or subdivision, and designed and intended for the use or enjoyment of residents and owners of the development or subdivision. COMMON OPEN SPACE may contain such complementary structures and improvements as are necessary and appropriate for the use or enjoyment of residents and owners of the development.
   CONCEPT PLAN. A preliminary presentation or sketch plan and attendant documentation of a proposed subdivision or a site plan of sufficient accuracy to be used for the purpose of discussion and classification.
   CONDOMINIUM. Real property and any incidentals thereto or interests therein which have been or are to be lawfully established as such under the state’s Condominium Act, VA Code §§ 55-79.39 et seq..
   CONSTRUCTION PLANS. Engineering plans for construction of streets, utilities, and other improvements.
   CONVENTIONAL DEVELOPMENT. Development other than planned development.
   CROSSWALKWAY. A public way intended for pedestrian use and excluding motor vehicles, which cuts across a block in order to furnish improved access to adjacent streets or properties.
   CUL-DE-SAC. A minor street having but one end open for vehicular traffic and with the other end permanently terminated by a turnaround or backaround for vehicles.
   DAYS. Calendar days.
   D.B.H. Diameter at breast height. The diameter of a tree measured outside the bark of a point four and one-half feet above the ground.
   DETENTION BASIN. A human-made or natural water collector facility designed to collect surface and subsurface water in order to impede its flow and to release the same gradually at a rate not greater than that prior to the development of the property, into natural or human-made outlets.
   DEVELOPER. The legal or beneficial owner or owners of a lot or of any land proposed to be included in a proposed development or subdivision, including the holder of an option or contract to purchase, or any other person having enforceable proprietary interest in such land.
   DRAINAGE. The removal of surface water or groundwater from land by drains, grading, or other means. This includes control of runoff during and after construction or development to minimize erosion and sedimentation to assure the adequacy of existing and proposed culverts and bridges, to induce water recharge into the ground where practical, to lessen nonpoint pollution, to maintain the integrity of stream channels for their biological functions as well as for DRAINAGE, and the means necessary for water supply preservation or prevention or alleviation of flooding.
   DRAINAGE FACILITY. Any component of the drainage system.
   DRAINAGE SYSTEM. The system through which water flows from the land, including all watercourses, waterbodies, and wetlands.
   DRIVEWAY. A paved or unpaved area used for ingress or egress of vehicles, and allowing access from a street to a building or other structure or facility.
   DWELLING. A room or group of rooms within a building and constituting a separate and independent housekeeping unit occupied or intended to be occupied by one family, and containing kitchen, living, sleeping, and sanitary facilities. Definition shall include buildings containing both one- and two-dwelling units.
   DWELLING, MULTIFAMILY. A building containing three or more dwelling units.
   EASEMENT. An authorization by a property owner for use by another of any designated part of his or her property for one or more specified purposes, which purposes are consistent with the general property rights of the owner.
   ENVIRONMENTAL CONSTRAINTS. Features, natural resources, or land characteristics that are sensitive to modification and may require conservation measures or the application of creative development techniques to prevent degradation of the environment, or may require limited development, or in certain instances may preclude development.
   EROSION. The detachment and movement of soil or rock fragments by water, wind, ice, and gravity.
   ESCROW. A deed, bond, money, or a piece of property delivered to a third person to be delivered by him or her to the grantee only upon fulfillment of a condition.
      (1)   A relatively flat or low land area adjoining a river, stream, or watercourse which is subject to partial or complete inundation; and/or
      (2)   An area subject to the unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source.
   GENERAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN. A plan outlining general, rather than detailed, development intentions. It describes the basic parameters of a major development proposal, rather than giving full engineering details. As such, it allows general intentions to be proposed and discussed without the extensive costs involved in submitting a detailed proposal.
   GOVERNING BODY. The Board of Supervisors of Richmond County.
   GRADE. The slope of a street, or other public way, or land area specified in percentage (%) terms.
   GROUND COVER. Low-growing plants or sod that in time form a dense mat covering the area in which they are planted preventing soil from being blown or washed away and the growth of unwanted plants.
   HEALTH OFFICER. The Health Officer or Sanitarian of Richmond County.
   INDIVIDUAL SEWAGE DISPOSAL SYSTEM. A septic tank, seepage tile sewage disposal system, or any other approved sewage treatment device serving a single unit.
   INTERSECTION. The area embraced within the prolongation of the lateral boundary lines of two or more streets which join one another at an angle whether or not one such street crosses the other.
   LOT. A portion of a subdivision or other parcel of land intended for the transfer of ownership or for building development, whether immediate or future.
   LOT AREA. The total horizontal area within the lot lines of the lot and expressed in terms of acres or square feet.
   LOT, CORNER. A lot abutting upon two or more streets at their intersection where the interior angle of intersection is not greater than 135 degrees. A lot abutting upon a curved street shall be considered a CORNER LOT if the tangents to the curve at the points of intersection of the side lot lines intersect at an interior angle of less than 135 degrees.
   LOT DEPTH. The average horizontal distance between the front and rear lot lines.
   LOT, DOUBLE FRONTAGE. A lot, other than a corner lot, which has frontage on two streets.
   LOT FRONTAGE. The portion of a lot extending along a street line or upon a waterbody, beach, or wetland as the case may require.
   LOT LINE. The boundary line of the lot.
   LOT, WATERFRONT. A lot that includes, touches upon, or is within 100 feet of the mean low water mark of a natural or human-made body of water or a beach or wetland.
   LOT WIDTH. The horizontal distance between the side lot lines measured at the front building setback line.
   MAINTENANCE BOND. Any security that is acceptable to the governing body to assure the maintenance of approved installations by developers.
   MAINTENANCE GUARANTEE. Any security, other than cash, that may be accepted by the county for the maintenance of any required improvements.
   MAJOR SUBDIVISION. Any subdivision not classified as a minor subdivision.
   MARGINAL ACCESS STREET. A service street that runs parallel to a higher-order street which, for purposes of safety, provides access to abutting properties and separation from through traffic. It may be designed as a residential access street or subcollector as anticipated daily traffic dictates.
   MINOR STREET. A street other than a major thoroughfare or collector street and intended primarily for providing low volume traffic access to abutting properties of limited number.
   MINOR SUBDIVISION. A subdivision of land of not more than seven lots provided that such subdivision does not involve: a planned development or residential cluster subdivision; or the extension of any off-site improvement, the cost of which is to be prorated pursuant to this chapter or other laws and ordinances. (Procedures and conditions for approval of minor subdivisions are contained in §§ 154.006 through 154.012 and §§ 154.050 through 154.062.)
   OPEN SPACE. Any parcel or area of land or water essentially unimproved and set aside, dedicated, designated, or reserved for public or private use or enjoyment or for the use and enjoyment of owners and occupants of land adjoining or neighboring such OPEN SPACE; provided that such areas may be improved with only those buildings, structures, streets, and off-street parking and other improvements that are designed to be incidental to the natural openness of the land.
   PERC TEST (PERCOLATION TEST). A test designated to determine the ability of ground to absorb water, and used in determining the suitability of a soil for drainage or for the use of a septic system.
   PERFORMANCE GUARANTEE. Any security, including cash, which may be accepted by the county to ensure installation of required subdivision and/or site plan improvements; provided that the county shall not require more than 10% of the total PERFORMANCE GUARANTEE in cash.
   PERVIOUS SURFACE. Any material that permits full or partial absorption of stormwater into previously unimproved land.
   PLANNED DEVELOPMENT. Multifamily dwelling, townhouse, or condominium development, planned unit development, planned unit residential development, residential cluster development, planned shoreline commercial development, or planned shoreline industrial development.
   PLANNING COMMISSION. The Richmond County Planning Commission.
   PLAT. A map or maps of a subdivision.
   PRE-APPLICATION CONFERENCE. An initial meeting between developers and county representatives which affords developers the opportunity to present their proposals informally.
   PRELIMINARY APPROVAL. The conferral of certain rights prior to final approval after specific elements of a development plan have been agreed upon by the agent and the applicant.
   PRELIMINARY SUBDIVISION PLAT. A map indicating the proposed layout of a development or subdivision and related information that is submitted for preliminary approval.
   PRIMARY HIGHWAY. A highway designated as a state primary highway or U.S. highway by the State Department of Transportation.
   PUBLIC OPEN SPACE. An open space area conveyed or otherwise dedicated to a municipality, municipal agency, school board, state or county agency, or other public body for recreational or conservational uses.
   PUBLIC WATER AND SEWER SERVICE OR SYSTEM. A water or sewer system owned and operated by a municipality or county, or owned and operated by a corporation approved by the governing body and properly chartered and certified by the State Corporation Commission, and subject to special regulations as herein set forth.
   REGULATIONS. The whole body of regulations, text, charts, diagrams, notations, and references contained or referred to in this chapter.
   RESIDENTIAL CLUSTER. An area to be developed as a single entity according to a plan containing residential housing units which have a common or public open space area as an appurtenance.
   RESIDENTIAL DENSITY. The number of dwelling units per gross acre of residential land area, with gross acres including all the land area, including streets, easements, and open space portions of a development.
   RETAINING WALL. A structure erected between lands of different elevation to protect structures and/or to prevent the washing down or erosion of earth from the upper slope level.
   RETENTION BASIN. A pond, pool, or basin used for the permanent storage of water runoff.
   RIGHT-OF-WAY. A strip of land occupied or intended to be occupied by a street, crosswalk, railroad, road, electric transmission line, gas pipeline, water main, sanitary or storm sewer main, drainage ditch, shade trees, or for another special use.
   ROADWAY. The portion of a street or highway available for and intended for use by motor vehicle traffic; generally the paved portion of the street or highway.
   SCREEN. A structure or planting consisting of fencing, berms, and/or evergreen trees or shrubs providing a continuous view obstruction within a site or property.
   SCS. Soil Conservation Service.
   SECONDARY HIGHWAY. A highway designated as a state secondary highway by the State Department of Transportation.
   SEDIMENTATION. The deposit of soil that has been transported from its site of origin by water, ice, wind, gravity, or other natural means as a product of erosion.
   SEPTIC SYSTEM. An underground system with a septic tank used for the decomposition of domestic wastes.
   SEPTIC TANK. A water-tight receptacle that receives the discharge of sewage.
   SERVICE DRIVE. A minor street which is parallel to and adjacent to a major thoroughfare, and which provides access to abutting properties and restricts access to the major thoroughfare.
   SETBACK. The horizontal distance between the street right-of-way line and the front line of a building or any projection thereof, excluding uncovered steps, or the horizontal distance between the side or rear line of a building or any projection thereof, excluding uncovered steps, and the side or rear lot line. SETBACK may also be specified from a designated physical feature such as a waterbody, beach, or wetland.
   SEWER. Any pipe conduit used to collect and carry away sewage or stormwater runoff from the generating source to treatment plants or receiving streams.
   SHADE TREE. A tree in a public place, street, special easement, or right-of-way adjoining a street.
   SITE PLAN. The development plan for a project or a subdivision on which is shown the existing and proposed conditions including topography, vegetation, drainage, floodplains, wetlands, waterways, location, and bulk of buildings, density of development, open space, public facilities, landscaping, structures, and signs, and such other information as reasonably may be required in order that an informed decision can be made by the approving authority. For certain projects such as condominium or townhouse projects or water-dependent facilities, the term is used synonymously with SUBDIVISION PLAT, PRELIMINARY AND FINAL.
   STORMWATER DETENTION. A provision for storage of stormwater runoff and the controlled release of such runoff during and after a flood or storm.
   STORMWATER RETENTION. A provision for storage of stormwater runoff.
   STREET. A public or private thoroughfare which affords the principal means of access to abutting properties, and whether designated as a freeway, expressway, thoroughfare, highway, road, parkway, avenue, boulevard, lane, place, circle, or however otherwise designated.
   STREET, COLLECTOR. Any state secondary highway designated as a major thoroughfare on the adopted Major Thoroughfare Plan of the county, or any highway designated as a major or minor rural collector by the State Department of Transportation, or a street in a proposed subdivision which is intended to collect traffic from the minor streets within a neighborhood or a portion thereof and to distribute such traffic to major thoroughfares in addition to providing access to properties abutting thereon.
   STREET LINE (RIGHT-OF-WAY LINE). A dividing line between a lot, tract, or parcel of land and a contiguous street, and also referred to as a RIGHT-OF-WAY LINE.
   STREET, MAJOR, or MAJOR THOROUGHFARE. A street or road designated as a MAJOR THOROUGHFARE (a U.S. highway, state primary highway, or state secondary highway) on the adopted Comprehensive Plan of the county or so designated by the State Department of Transportation.
   STREET, PRIVATE. A private thoroughfare or easement of access established in accord with the terms of this chapter and which is not publicly owned or publicly maintained.
   STREET WIDTH. The horizontal distance between street lines measured perpendicular to the street centerline.
   SUBDIVIDE. The process of dealing with land so as to establish a subdivision as defined herein.
   SUBDIVIDER. Any individual, firm, partnership, association, corporation, estate, trust, or any other group or combination, acting as a unit, dividing or proposing to divide land so as to constitute a subdivision as defined herein, and including any agent of the SUBDIVIDER.
      (1)   The division of any tract or parcel of land into two or more tracts, parcels, lots, or building sites, for the purpose, whether immediate or future, of transfer of ownership or for development. If no new streets are created or existing streets changed, the following (after review by the agent) shall not be considered SUBDIVISIONS within the meaning of this chapter and therefore are exempted from application of the full design standards, fees, and review procedures of this chapter:
         (a)   Sale or gift of a single division of a lot or parcel to a member of the immediate family of the property owner. Only one such division shall be allowed per family member, and shall not be for the purpose of circumventing this chapter, and shall be subject to the minimum lot area, dimensional and environmental requirements of this or other county ordinances, and shall be subject to survey and recording in the land records of the county. A 20-foot right-of-way shall be required for an immediate family SUBDIVISION. For the purpose of this section, a MEMBER OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY is defined as any person who is a natural or legally defined offspring, spouse, grandchild, grandparent, or parent of the owner;
         (b)   The sale or exchange of parcels between adjoining property owners where such sale or exchange does not create additional building sites or create a lot or parcel which does not meet the minimum area and dimensional requirements of this or other county ordinances;
         (c)   The combination or recombination of portions of previously subdivided lots where the total number of lots is not increased and the resultant lots comply with the minimum area and dimensional requirements of this and other county ordinances;
         (d)   The division of a tract of land in order that one or more of the resulting parcels may be used as part of a well lot, public utility right-of-way, or other public or private right-of-way other than a street, provided no additional building lots are created;
         (e)   The partition of lands by court order;
         (f)   Where a viable dwelling unit exists on a large tract of property, a lot may be created to include the dwelling unit. Such a lot must meet the area and dimensional requirements of the zoning district in which the proposed lot is located and no nonconformities are created on the residual property. An existing legal right-of-way will be sufficient to provide access to the lot as long as the lot created is precluded from future SUBDIVISION by deed restrictions; and
         (g)   Divisions of large tracts of property where the resultant parcels shall be used for agricultural, forestal, or other undisturbed open space provided such parcels are served by a right-of-way with a minimum width of 25 feet. The plats and deeds for such parcels shall show the parcels are not for residential or other use except as aforestated.
      (2)   If new streets are created or existing streets changed, the project shall be considered a SUBDIVISION notwithstanding the above.
      (3)   Minor SUBDIVISIONS and two-lot SUBDIVISIONS as herein defined are also subject to certain street construction exemptions as provided in §§ 154.050 through 154.062.
      (4)   The term SUBDIVISION shall include resubdivision, and, where appropriate to the context, shall relate to the process of subdividing or to the land subdivided, and shall include establishment of any land area as a common element, limited or otherwise, in connection with a condominium or similar project, construction, or conversion regardless of the number of parcels involved, and shall include the establishment of any new apartment, townhouse, or condominium project or any waterfront or water-dependent facility such as a marina, yacht club, community dock, pier or boat ramp, or any waterfront business or waterfront industrial establishment of whatever type.
   TWO-LOT SUBDIVISION. A minor subdivision of two or less lots to be served by a 20-foot private right-of-way. A TWO-LOT SUBDIVISION shall meet the minimum subdivision requirements of this chapter with the exception of the road standards. (See § 154.056(M)(3).)
   WATER-DEPENDENT FACILITY. A development that must be located on the shoreline by reason of the intrinsic nature of its operation including, but not limited to, ports, the intake and outfall structures of power plants, wastewater outfalls, marinas and other boat docking structures, public beaches, and other public water-oriented recreation areas and fisheries facilities.
   WETLAND. Vegetated and non-vegetated tidal wetlands as defined by Chapter 156 of this code of ordinances and the statutes of the state as well as nontidal extensions of tidal wetlands and any clearly recognizable swamp or marsh which surrounds a perennial watercourse.
(Ord. passed 8-10-1989)