Guilford County planning department officials have been talking about it for years and, this week, on Thursday, Nov. 19, the final version is set for approval by the Guilford County Board of Commissioners.

The very lengthy and involved item that’s been in the works for so long is a new Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) that will guide development in unincorporated Guilford County in the future.

While the ongoing process over the last few years hasn’t gained a lot of attention, a development ordinance is very important since it has a great influence on an area’s development and it includes rules and regulations regarding everything from safety considerations to things like signage to parking requirements.

According to county planning staff and county leadership, the new UDO will be a big improvement. It’s claimed to be “more user-friendly” with the added benefits that it “protects the existing rural development patterns, promotes more housing choices, adds flexibility, and promotes agriculture as a land use activity.”

If you are just getting ready to get your development project underway, don’t fret, Even though the Board of Commissioners is expected to approve the ordinance this week, it won’t go into effect until November 18 of 2021. County planning officials say the one-year transition period is there to make sure that the new rules and regulations don’t cause any delays in development projects due to unforeseen consequences.

The proposed Unified Development Ordinance “reflects and is consistent with” the county’s eight area plans that pertain to unincorporated areas of Guilford County: the Alamance Creek Area Plan, the Liberty Road/Woody Mill Road Vicinity Small Area Plan, the Northeast Area Plan, the Northern Lakes Area Plan, the Northwest Area Plan, the Rock Creek Area Plan, the Southern Area Plan and the Southwest Area Plan.