Stop Commercial Development in Sunflower/Seaward Plantation Rural Settlement

“Stop Commercial Development in Sunflower/Seaward Plantation Rural Settlement” was the title of an email that came from Save Orange County asking us to sign a petition advocating for the protection of the Sunflower/Seward Plantation Estates Rural Settlement.

Here’s the link to the petition:
Petition to Protect Sunflower_Seward Plantation Rural Settlement

I don’t know about you but I just can’t sign a petition without knowing all the facts so here they are.

A landowner has submitted a “privately initiated amendment” to Orange County to have the owners property re-zoned.   A “privately initiated amendment” just means someone other than the county submitted an amendment to the comprehensive plan.  In this case it was the landowner.  In years past, a landowner was not allowed to do this, now they are.

This is not a huge development.  This is all about two small lots running along Hwy 50.  The lot is shown on the map as well as the triangular shaped lot to the left.  This is right across the street from “The Grow” which will have commercial along Hwy 50.



Here’s the satellite view.

Lots - satellite

Lots – satellite

Here’s what it says in the public notice for the meeting held in January.

“The proposed plan is to change the future land use map designation on the subject properties from rural settlement 1/1 to commercial. The request is also to change the zoning of parcel 2 from C-1 (Retail Commercial) and A-2 (Farmland Rural District) to C-1 (Retail Commercial District) TO ALLOW FOR 16,045 sq ft of neighborhood serving commercial uses.”

So what’s the problem?  The lot is on Hwy 50 where other commercial exists and is right across the street from “The Grow” which will have commercial along Hwy 50.  And there is commercial just down the road either way.   Also in 1957, it was zoned commercial.  It is just that the Future Land Use map doesn’t show it as commercial.  Why not just approve it?

Here are the issues and why this just might not be a good idea.

  1. The lots are inside a rural settlement that has strict guidelines as to what goes inside them; they are protected.  Here’s a map clearly showing the lots inside the Sunflower Rural Settlement.

    Future Land Use Map

    Future Land Use Map

  2. The lot has had C-1 (commercial) zoning since 1957 but because of inconsistencies between the zoning and land use designations, the landowner was forced to apply to change the future land use designation to commercial.
  3. Another and probably the most important issue is the adjacent lots along Hwy 50 that are also in the Sunflower Rural Settlement.  As you can see there are several with the same zoning along Hwy 50 but inside the rural settlement.  If this one passes, then every landowner who owns a lot inside the rural settlement along Hwy 50 could do the same.


  4. And then there’s traffic.  We just don’t need more traffic on the already clogged roadways and this won’t help.  Sooner or later, hopefully sooner, Orange County will take action to curb this trend and not approve developments that infrastructure can’t support.

While this looks like a small change, the effect is big because of the precedence it sets on future land use inside the rural settlements.  Everyone who lives inside the 18 rural settlements and those in the rural service area should be concerned about this.

Your district commissioners email address is


Landowner application:
FLU change application

Calendar for the public meeting held on 1/30/2019:

Future Land Use – market areas:


SOC info

SOC Petition

PNZ info – RZ-18-10-036

County Calendar

OC Future Land Use Map

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Posted in McCulloch Road.