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The ReCodify Cashiers project is an initiative being undertaken by the County to review and update a portion its Unified Development Ordinance applicable in the Cashiers area.  The Unified Development Ordinance (or “UDO”) is the basic set of laws used by the County to protect public health and safety as well as to protect property values and sensitive environmental resources. 


Jackson County’s UDO establishes basic rules for how land may be used, what kinds of land uses may be permitted in what locations, the process for gaining County approval of a proposed land use or development activity, and how the County will handle violations or complaints about potential violations of the development rules.


Section 9.3 of the Jackson County UDO establishes the rules and regulations for the Cashiers Commercial District.  The Cashiers Commercial District has two components: a Village Center sub-district and a General Commercial sub-district, each with different allowable uses and dimensional standards.  The regulations also include special building design, parking, landscaping, exterior lighting, stormwater, and sign standards for the Cashiers Commercial District as well.  These regulations are used by Jackson County staff, the Cashiers Community Planning Council, and the Board of County Commissioners for reviewing applications for development in the Cashiers Commercial District.


In July of 2022 the County issued a request for proposals in search of a consulting firm to assist the County with updating the Cashiers Commercial District standards in UDO Section 9.3.  The County’s request is to create an updated zoning code (Section 9.3) for Cashiers that reflects the goals and recommendations in the small area plan and the Urban Land Institute’s 2022 Advisory Services Panel Report on Cashiers.


In March of 2019 Jackson County adopted the Cashiers Small Area Plan.  “The preparation of a small area plan for the Village of Cashiers will help to guide development in a way that promotes positive growth while maintaining the rich natural environment…” (Small Area Plan Page 6).  The plan establishes the following five goals for the community:

  1. Be true to place by honoring the history, heritage, and authenticity of Cashiers' village character. 

  2. Create a year-round vibrant village. 

  3. Promote and enhance the area's natural resources. 

  4. Improve physical and social connectivity. 

  5. Strengthen collaboration between governmental, non-profit, and civic organizations. 

The small area plan also proposes a land use framework that identifies a variety of different character areas recommendations for land use, a wider variety of housing types, more open space resources, more roadway and pedestrian connectivity, and improved infrastructure.


In the fall of 2021, the Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce commissioned a special report by the Urban Land Institute to explore the challenges facing Cashiers and provide recommendations about how best to manage growth and plan for the future.  The Urban Land Institute’s Advisory Services Panel Report was published in May of 2022, and it identified the following five primary recommendations for Cashiers:


  1. Create a long-term conservation plan for the Cashiers area that identifies critical natural areas, steep slopes, green spaces, and scenic views that should be permanently protected.

  2. Build a robust network of pathways, trails, and sidewalks to facilitate and improve walkability within the village core.

  3. Work aggressively with state and county government to accelerate construction of critical infrastructure, including broadband, water and sewer, and a roundabout at the crossroads to reduce congestion and improve mobility throughout the village.

  4. Create an organization focused on bringing in more diverse housing (both for sale and rental) to address critical workforce housing needs.

  5. Work proactively with major landowners to ensure that development proposals respect local values and community character in scale, design, and architecture.


Changes to Section 9.3 of the Jackson County UDO is the primary means by which the County and the village will achieve many of the goals identified in the Small Area Plan and ULI report (though some of the ULI goals are more broad in scope than changes to the County’s development regulations).


ReCodify Cashiers is a collaboration between the community, the consultant, and the County to prepare new development regulations and processes that will identify and protect community character, protect property values, protect the environment, and protect property rights for everyone (including applicants for new development).  Emphasis will be placed on clear, codified development standards that indicate preferred development forms.  Development applications that are consistent with these codified preferences will be reviewed and decided administratively.  Larger or more impactful developments will utilize a new legislative conditional zoning process that provides for a maximum of legislative discretion on the part of the County and increased discussion and cooperation between the applicant and the community during the review process.

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