The Town of Pierson Planning Commission welcomed a new member, Blair Davis, to complete the panel that’s now revising the town’s planning and zoning guidelines.
At the same time, the Northwest Volusia town is considering new laws to govern code enforcement, noise complaints and “accessory dwelling units,” such as garage apartments or backyard tiny homes.
Pierson Mayor Samuel G.S. Bennett announced at the Town Council meeting April 13 that Planning Commission member Michael Burnside would be resigning. In his place, the council appointed Davis.
Bennett explained that Burnside was unable to devote the time needed by the Planning Commission.
“He’s a manager at Pierson Supply, and also he has a business of his own,” Bennett said. “I wholeheartedly support Blair, and I would love for him to serve on the Planning Commission.”
Davis joins as the Planning Commission continues a monthslong odyssey through revising the town’s comprehensive plan.
“The town’s comprehensive plan is a state-mandated plan that provides guidance for the physical growth of the town,” Town Planner Mark Karet told The Beacon.
Working through the comprehensive plan chapter by chapter, the Planning Commission is updating old language that has not been revised since the last mandate seven years ago.
Karet said the goal is to maintain “orderly growth while preserving the rural character of the Town of Pierson.”
As the revision continues, a number of ordinances are also working their way through the Town of Pierson’s process.
One of them would amend the town’s code enforcement.
In most municipalities, code enforcement is handled by a building official, a special magistrate, or a code enforcement board.
In tiny Pierson, most of these responsibilities fall on the shoulders of the town clerk.
With so many other duties, and only one full-time person in the clerk’s office, the Town Council has expressed a desire to create a new position to reduce some of the burden and expedite code-enforcement investigations.
The Town Council considered an ordinance that would create the new position of development regulation administrator, but sent it back to the Planning Commission April 13 over concerns that the new official would have the same problem as before: a single individual holding the keys to all code-enforcement violations.
Under the ordinance as originally presented, the development regulation administrator would have functioned as a one-person code enforcement board. Once a decision was made by the administrator, the Town Council would have been briefed on the violation or lack thereof, and the planned recourse, if any.
The Planning Commission is expected to revise the ordinance and return it to the Town Council.
Ordinances amending the town’s policies on accessory dwelling units and noise violations are also in the process.
Ordinance No. 2021-03 would establish specific rules for accessory dwelling units to be built on the sites of single-family homes within Pierson. This ordinance, the text explains, would help combat rising housing prices, by offering a form of more-affordable housing.
Also, Ordinance No. 2021-04 would amend the current noise-violation rules. For one, individuals filing a noise complaint would no longer have to provide sworn statements, and fines would be increased. Currently, noise-violation fines cannot exceed $500 after an individual’s third violation. If passed, the updated ordinance would raise that penalty to $1,000.
This ordinance comes after multiple complaints from a Pierson resident about a neighbor throwing loud parties in his barn in the wee hours of the morning.
Both ordinances will be voted on at second readings at the next Pierson Town Council meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 27, at Pierson Town Hall, 106 N. Center St.
All Town Council meetings are open to the public.