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An effort to envision the future of Cashiers is now underway as work begins to create a small area plan for the unincorporated Jackson County community. 

A 14-month process to overhaul Jackson County’s splintered planning ordinances is now underway following the county commissioners’ unanimous approval of a $66,000 contract for Raleigh-based Stewart, Inc. to lead the project.

After two years of meetings, research and public input, the Jackson County Comprehensive Land Use Plan must go through one more round of public comment before commissioners can give it final approval. A public hearing is scheduled for 5:50 p.m. Monday, June 19, at the Jackson County Justice Center.

The Jan. 24 rezoning of three tracts along Howell Mill Road signals a continued effort by the town of Waynesville to appease homeowners and businesses, maintain the residential character of the area and create a buffer from Russ Avenue’s heavy commercial traffic.

An oft-repeated concern expressed during meetings of the Haywood County Affordable Housing Task Force is the scarcity of buildable land available in mountainous Haywood County, but a proposed rezoning for three parcels on Howell Mill Road may demonstrate a viable path forward in the push to make the area a more affordable place to live.

Approval of a 38-home subdivision in Cullowhee has served as a catalyst for the Jackson County Planning Board to revisit the county’s steep slope ordinance, a controversial piece of legislation that passed in 2015 after nearly three years of heartfelt debate. If the last few planning board meetings are any indication, the next round of steep slope discussions will also be a lengthy and complex conversation.

Making their way around a room studded with tables, informational posters and documents for review, Jackson County residents took advantage of their first opportunity — Tuesday, Nov. 29 — to see where county leaders envisioned steering the county over the next 25 years.

As the saying goes, change is life’s only constant — so Jackson County is looking for input to guide its approach to the changes that the next 25 years are likely to bring.

Mere months after the much-debated Cullowhee Community Planning Standards became county ordinance, commissioners are set to consider a pair of changes to the rules following a public hearing at 5:55 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, in room A201 of the Jackson County Justice and Administration Building.

Jackson County may have thought it was finished talking about its steep slope ordinance for a while when a much-debated revision to the document passed in 2015, but the planning board is gearing up to address yet another facet of the ordinance — which ridges in the county should fall under the definition of “protected mountain ridge.”

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