The steep slope rewrite, now a shadow of its former self, is back for a final chapter in Jackson

fr steepslopeThe rollicking steep slope debate in Jackson County may finally be put to rest next month after three years of tussling over whether and how much to water down the development rules.

Steep slope rules in Jackson County were narrowly spared from the chopping block last year after public outcry derailed a rewrite from going through.

Commissioners at the time pledged to revisit the rewrite once they got through election season — but voters had a different plan in mind. A new majority was elected to the county board, and the rewrite largely faded into the background.

A few remnants from the rewrite survived, however, and those are now poised for passage in coming weeks. Most are technical clarifications. There’s one substantial change still in the mix, however: how steep should a slope be before steep slope rules kick in?

The threshold will go from 30 to 35 percent under the proposed change — which means the steep slope rules won’t apply in as many places as they did before.

A public hearing on the proposed change will be held in September. The public hearing was originally slated for next week, but it was delayed.

By then, a new map will be ready showing what areas fall within the new 35 percent slope threshold, according to Sarah Thomspon, planning board chair.

It could be compared with the old map to show how much — or how little — land that used to fall under the steep slope rules no longer will.

Stay tuned for an article exploring the issue more as the public hearing gets closer.


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