Smithfield Herald

Archer Lodge approves zoning

At their Nov. 14 meeting, Archer Lodge leaders approved this proposed zoning map.
At their Nov. 14 meeting, Archer Lodge leaders approved this proposed zoning map. TOWN OF ARCHER LODGE

Archer Lodge has approved a zoning map, making its identity as a town even more apparent.

The town council unanimously approved the zoning map at its meeting Nov. 14.

Archer Lodge became a town in 2009 and has been using the county’s zoning since then. Now it has its own council-approved land uses.

“It’s a historic night for Archer Lodge,” Councilman Mark Wilson said.

The zoning map the council approved is similar to the one the county had in place. Among the changes, the council zoned some farmland for housing. For example, in Councilman Wilson’s neighborhood, the county’s zoning had allowed swine production. Now, that’s no longer permitted.

Under the map, the town has three categories of subdivisions. The SFR-1 designation is for bigger lots and comes with the most restrictions on what type of homes are allowed.

SFR-2 allows manufactured homes but places rules on them. For example, mobile homes coming into Archer Lodge may be no more than 10 years old and must have masonry underpinning.

The final subdivision category is SFR-3, which allows mobile home parks. The zoning map sets aside land on the southeast side of town for mobile home parks.

Mayor Mike Gordon said the council considered banning mobile homes in Archer Lodge but chose instead to allow them with restrictions. The new rules do not apply to mobile homes already in place in in town.

“It is to give some sort of permanence to the town, and we want it to look nice,” Wilson said of the rules on mobile homes.

Jerry Pace Jr., who attended the Nov. 14 meeting, has lived in Archer Lodge for 50 years. He said the mobile home rules would make it harder for low-income families to live in town.

“It may make it more expensive to have a mobile home here,” he said.

Still, Pace said, he doesn’t think the zoning changes will make the town much different from what it is today.

“It’s still just home,” he said.

Archer Lodge leaders have said all along that they don’t want big businesses, including big-box stores, in town, and the zoning allows only small retailers and doctors’ offices.

Even then, it might be hard for shopkeepers and doctors to come to Archer Lodge. The town has little land for sale, with most property owners unwilling to sell their lands for business use. Also, large growth in the town’s business base would require sewer, which Archer Lodge doesn’t have.

For now, that means the town will be a quiet, slowed-paced place to live. But it does have zoning approved by local leaders.

“We now have control of our own growth,” Wilson said.

“It’s one of our first big steps toward being a real town,” Gordon added.

Property owners seeking zoning changes will have to apply to the town. In the past, they went before county commissioners.