Board OKs zoning code change

By Keith Strange

July 18, 2013

DOBSON — The Surry County Board of Commissioners has approved a change to the county’s zoning ordinance, allowing homeowners to locate outbuildings where they please.

The action came following a public hearing during the board’s meeting Monday night.

Addressing the proposed change, County Planner Kim Bates said the previous ordinance, which restricted outbuildings to side or rear yards, created headaches for his office.

“This change is being proposed in response to a large number of variance requests brought before the planning board,” he said.

According to Bates, “Many properties are situated, in terms of topography, driveway location, foliage and other factors, in such ways that accessory buildings may be needed but cannot be practically placed in the side or rear yards.

“These factors suggest that the restriction of all accessory structures to the side or rear yards is difficult to administer and enforce with fairness, and may not clearly contribute to the overall public interest,” he said.

Addressing the change, Commissioner Paul Johnson said he hoped the new language would ease the problems with so many variances.

“I believe this is going to make both your and our lives a lot less miserable,” he said.

During the hearing, Mount Airy resident Rawley King said the ordinances weren’t being followed in the first place.

“People are doing what they want to anyway,” he said. “When you make these ordinances and not carry them out, it makes plenty of trouble for everyone because people are doing what they want.”

Following the hearing, the ordinance change unanimously was approved on a motion by R.F. “Buck” Golding, with a second by Johnson.

Reach Keith Strange at or 719-1929.