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LUDMO makes Richmond’s land use questions easier to answer

October 24th, 2014 Posted in Opinion

By Jared Dangerfield

RICHMOND — “I didn’t think this day would ever come,” were the words of City Manager Marlowe Adkins when the Land Use Development and Management Ordinance (LUDMO) was approved by the City Council this week. Approving this ordinance has been three years in the making while the council and Planning and Zoning Commission have gone through every paragraph and chapter of the document, resolving concerns and questions along the way.

As soon as the council voted to have the updated LUDMO approved, Adkins jokingly asked to be excused as he “listened to the heavens sing.”

Having the LUDMO ordinance approved means the council and planning and zoning commission now have a basic for how to regulate future land developments.

“It’s a lot easier to solve questions from citizens, and makes it much simpler,” said Councilman Tucker Thatcher. “The LUDMO ordinance will be a huge help to our city, it will tighten down a lot of our land use laws. Where things could be a little gray in the past, they are a little bit more black and white now.”

Richmond’s LUDMO is part of a larger statewide land ordinance called LUDMA, an acronym for land use development and management act. LUDMA states that all local governments must have a general plan in place that is in accordance with state regulations. The city previously had an ordinance in place, but needed to alter it to comply with LUDMA. “We’ve always had an ordinance in place that’s always worked well, this is just a little tighter,” Thatcher said.

Now with the approval of LUDMO, the city will review the document annually, but will only have to make changes to the ordinance if state regulations change. Adkins plans on making sure that the city stays current and does not get behind with keeping up on regulation changes.

Mayor Mike Hall said the ordinance will help the city council make future decisions for residents of Richmond. “It’s a guiding document to guide us to a decision,” he said.

Adkins said he has high regard for the mayor and council for “sticking with it and seeing it through.” He is also glad to see the ordinance in place because “it actually protects the council and the planning and zoning commission, because it gives them something firm.”

The document will enable a standard answer for most questions, but Adkins said out of the ordinary conflicts can be still be addressed. “If something unusual comes up, you can always come to the council and ask for a variance or a conditional use,” he said.


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