The topics for the Guilford County Planning Board meeting in September include proposed changes to the county’s Unified Development Ordinances, and, on Thursday, Aug. 26, the county put out notice of those changes to allow people a chance to read them and speak their mind at the Planning Board’s public hearing next month.

Over the past four years, the county has been reshaping its development ordinances and the new changes now under consideration are listed as amendments for “housekeeping, maintenance and adjustments.” 

The rub, however, is that sometimes things that city and county planners consider “housekeeping” changes can have big and unanticipated implications for developers and builders.

The board will hold its regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 8, at 6 p.m. in the NC Cooperative Extension Agricultural Center at 3309 Burlington Road in Greensboro.  It will include a public hearing on the proposed ordinance changes.

Those include a proposed requirement for “decommissioning plans” that would have to be turned in with special use permit applications submitted to the county.

Decommissioning plans would include the “removal of … solar panels, buildings, cabling, electrical components, and any other associated facilities.”  But the plans would not be limited to those items.

Also, “All disturbed earth must be graded and reseeded.”

If the Planning Board approves the changes, the submitted decommissioning plan would also have to address things like estimated decommissioning costs and agreement to a timeline for removal of equipment, structures, fencing, etc.

Decommissioning plans – along with an estimated cost of removal – would have to be updated every five years or upon change of ownership of the property.

If the board approves the proposed new rules, changes or updates to the decommissioning plans will need to be recorded in the County’s Register of Deeds office.

There’s also new wording in the ordinances with regard to what counts as “specialty crops” for the purposes of eligibility and funding for a number of US Department of Agriculture programs that offer marketing and research assistance to some growers.

Another change would be a bond required with solar panel use that’s equal to 1.25 times the estimated cost of removal before a zoning permit could be issued.

There are more proposed “housekeeping” changes that some in the county might not consider minor.  A complete list of the changes to be addressed at the September meeting can be found at

Everyone who wishes to speak before the board will be given an opportunity to be heard at this meeting.