Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Recode York County?
A: Recode York County is an initiative to update the York County Zoning and Subdivision Codes to better align them with the York County Comprehensive Plan, modernize the ordinances, make them more user friendly, provide more predictable development outcomes and permit flexibility where appropriate.
Q: Why is this being done during a pandemic?
A: County services, operations, and business must continue, especially through a years-long pandemic. Project managers have considered the health and safety of the public in gathering their valuable input on the code revisions. All public comment presentations have been over Zoom, which allows participation from all interested members of the public without risking their health in a large, indoor, in-person gathering. All presentations are also recorded and available on the project website, and public comments and questions can be submitted at any time through the project website as well.
Q: I live in one of the cities or towns in York County. How will this affect me?
A: Recode York County will not result in any regulatory changes applicable to property located within one of the cities or towns in the county. However, properties within a municipality but adjacent to unincorporated lands, could affected by a regulatory change to a nearby unincorporated property.
Q: Is the County going to adopt a UDO (Unified Development Ordinance)?
A: No. The Recode process will result in revisions to the County’s existing Zoning and Subdivision Codes, which will be maintained as separate ordinances. The Subdivision Code will be renamed the Land Development Code, to better align with state statutory language.
Q: When will the new Zoning and Subdivision Codes be adopted?
A: The process is anticipated to conclude with adoption of the updated ordinances in February 2022, with an effective date of March 1, 2022.
Q: Where can I find the current Zoning and Subdivision Codes?
A: You can review the current York County Zoning and Subdivision Codes by clicking on the Document Center tab in the menu.
Q: Where can I find the proposed revisions to the Zoning and Subdivision Codes?
A: You can review the proposed Zoning Code and Land Development Code (formerly the Subdivision Code) by clicking on the Document Center tab in the menu.
Q: What’s the best way to find out about the most significant revisions proposed to the Zoning and Subdivision Codes?
A: It’s important to note that many current Zoning and Subdivision Code provisions are carried forward in the revised codes. Existing text is reorganized and updated for clarity where needed. Each draft subchapter includes footnotes throughout the document that indicate where current provisions are carried forward, as well as where new standards are proposed.
To understand the most significant changes proposed to the codes, the best place to start is to review the presentations from past public meetings. Videos of the meetings and copies of the slide decks are available by clicking on the Public Participation tab in the menu.
- The Module 1 Presentation provides an overview of the most significant proposed changes to zoning districts, uses, and use regulations.
- The Module 2 Presentation provides an overview of the most significant proposed changes to building design, buffers and screening, parking, and signs.
- The Module 4 Presentation provides an overview of the most significant changes to the Subdivision Code, now called the Land Development Code.
Module 3, which focused on the administrative and procedural sections of the Zoning Code, was presented during the final adoption process, which began in October. Associated revisions were presented to the Planning Commission on October 25th and to County Council on November 10th.
In addition, the Zoning and Subdivision Codes Assessment, completed as one of the first steps in the Recode project, recommends a variety of changes to the codes and provides background information and discussion of each recommended change.
Q: How can I find out what my property is zoned?
A: You can view the current County zoning assigned to your property by clicking HERE to access the York County GIS Planning Viewer online mapping tool.
Q: Will my property be rezoned?
A: While this process is focused on updates to the text of the Zoning and Subdivision Codes, it may result in the creation of new districts or the consolidation / realignment of existing zoning districts. If it is determined that rezonings will be necessary to implement the updated Zoning Code due to the consolidation of districts, for example, then property owners will receive notice and have the opportunity to participate in the hearing process with the County Council prior to any final action being taken.
Q: How do the proposed Zoning Code changes affect my developed property?
A: Existing structures and developments are “grandfathered,” which means property owners are not required to make any immediate changes to their property related to a newly adopted zoning requirement. However, refer to Zoning Code Subchapter F: Nonconformities regarding how grandfathering works.
Q: How do the proposed Zoning Code changes affect my undeveloped property?
A: To determine whether any proposed changes to the Zoning Code affect your property:
- First determine your property’s current zoning by clicking HERE to access the York County GIS Planning Viewer online mapping tool.
- Then compare the uses currently allowed in that zoning district (see Zoning Code Section 155.010: Permitted Uses and Special Exceptions) with the uses proposed to be allowed (see Zoning Code Subchapter C: Use Regulations, Part 2: Use Tables).
- Next, compare the current dimensional standards, such as lot sizes and setbacks, that apply to properties in your district.
- The current standards are found in Zoning Code Sections:
- The proposed standards are found in Zoning Code Subchapter B, Part 2, Subpart 2.2: Base District Dimensional Standards.
- You can also review the Module 1 slides and presentation, which provide an overview of the major changes proposed for zoning districts, uses, and use regulations.
- Depending on your property’s zoning and use, additional development standards may apply, including parking, buffers and bufferyards, signs, and building design.
- For an overview of the changes related to these development standards, review the Module 2 Webinar slides and presentation.
- The current development standards are found in Zoning Code Sections:
- The proposed development standards are found in Zoning Code Subchapter D: Development and Design Standards.
Q: Will my property be rezoned?
A: At this time, the Recode project does not propose to rezone properties to any of the new districts being proposed (see below). However, following adoption of the revised codes, these new districts will be available for property owners who want to request rezoning to one of the districts.
The Recode project proposes to consolidate AGC-I with AGC and RUD-I with RUD. Any properties currently zoned AGC-I or RUD-I are proposed for rezoning during the Recode project. Affected property owners will receive additional notice from the County and have the opportunity to participate in the hearing process with the County Council prior to any final action being taken.
Properties currently zoned AGC and RUD comprise a significant portion of unincorporated land in York County (46.8% and 24.9%, respectively). However, only a small percentage of unincorporated land is zoned AGC-I and RUD-I (2.2% and 2.8%, respectively). The two AGC Districts and the two RUD Districts share similar purposes, similar allowed uses, and the same minimum lot sizes (5 ac in the AGC Districts and 1 ac in the RUD Districts). For these reasons, the Recode project proposes consolidation of the districts.
Q: Are the zoning district names proposed to change?
A: Yes, the following district names are proposed to change:
Q: Are any new zoning districts proposed?
A: Yes, the Recode project proposes to add seven new zoning districts (see below). The dimensional and other standards associated with each district are located in Zoning Code Subchapter B: Zoning Districts.
At this time, the Recode project does not propose to rezone properties to any of the new districts. Following adoption, these districts will be available for property owners who want to request rezoning to one of the districts. The County Council may consider initiating rezonings to these districts in the future.
Q: Are any changes to the UD District proposed?
A: Yes. The UD District is proposed to be classified as a “legacy” district. A legacy district is a zoning district that is being “phased out.” If adopted, as proposed, no additional lands will be zoned UD in the future.
The UD District was designed to permit, in certain areas of the County, maximum use flexibility in response to existing conditions and characteristics existing at the adoption of zoning. The objective of this district was to maximize land use flexibility and minimize land use conflicts in the process. Over the years, however, this maximum flexibility has resulted in land use conflicts, as many UD Districts are located near municipal boundaries. The UD District often allows significantly more intensive uses than those allowed by the adjacent municipality.
The County began to phase out UD several years ago when it removed residential dwellings as an allowed use, and actively encouraged property owners with residential uses to rezone to other zoning designations. Recode proposes to complete this transition of UD to legacy status.
Changes to UD include the following:
- Land cannot be rezoned to UD and existing UD Districts cannot be expanded.
- Zoning Code Subchapter B: Zoning Districts, Part 5: Legacy Districts, Subpart 5.2: UD (Urban Development) proposes to apply the current setback requirements for commercial uses specified in § 155.428(A). It adds a new metric, floor area ratio (FAR), to limit development of UD parcels and incentivize rezoning to another district that does not limit FAR.
- In addition, Zoning Code Subchapter C: Use Regulations, Part 2: Use Table proposes to eliminate all special exception uses in UD and significantly reduce the number of permitted and conditional uses allowed.
Q: Are the uses allowed in each zoning district proposed to change?
A: Generally, the types of uses allowed in each district are proposed to stay the same. However, the land use categories and land use definitions have been updated and brought into modern parlance.
To review the proposed use table, see Zoning Code Subchapter C: Use Regulations, Part 2: Use Table. To review the uses currently allowed in each base zoning district, see Zoning Code Section 155.010: Permitted Uses and Special Exceptions.
Q: What is proposed for townhomes, condos, and apartments?
A: The current Zoning Code lumps townhomes in together with condominiums and apartments and allows all three in the Residential Development II (RD-II) and Business Development III (BD-III) districts. This arrangement creates conflicts with townhomes locating on properties most suitable for commercial businesses and large apartment complexes locating on properties originally zoned for smaller lot single-family homes.
Recode proposes to separate out townhomes and allow them in RD-I (renamed RMX-20) and RD-II (renamed RMX-10), as well as the new RMX-6 and Mixed-Use (MU) districts. Apartments and condos (together called “multi-family dwellings”) would be allowed in RMX-6, MU, and the new Business and Technology Park (BT) district.
Q: Will I have a chance to review the code updates before they are adopted?
A: All draft and final versions of the updated Zoning Code and Land Development Code (formerly titled Subdivision Code) will be posted on this website under the Document Center tab in the menu.
Q: How can I submit questions or comments about the code update?
A: Contact information for the project manager and a form for submitting questions and comments via the website are available under the Contact Us tab in the menu.
Q: Where can I find more information on zoning, subdivision and other land use regulations?
A: Click HERE to download a presentation on land use regulation in South Carolina that the County has prepared based on a set of training materials originally developed by the South Carolina Association of Counties.
Q: Is this process going to change school impact fees?
A: Those fees are adopted by the County Council via ordinances that are not contained in the Zoning and Subdivision Codes, and are not under consideration as part of this process.