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Town considers zoning changes

Robert Slavin
Frederick News-Post

(11/7) Michael Lucas, Emmitsburg town planner proposed several zoning changes to the town's board of commissioners Monday night.

The changes, which come from the town's planning commission, are part of a proposed town comprehensive plan. In creating the plan, the town is engaging in a "comprehensive rezoning" of the town, Mr. Lucas said.

Among the changes Mr. Lucas suggested were that land occupied by the antiques mall be converted from industrial park to village zone classification. With the new zone, the business could continue as a conforming use, but if the mall left, it could never be replaced with an industrial use. Since the land is near Main Street it would be inappropriate for industrial use, Mr. Lucas said.

The village zone is a mixed-use zone that is used, in most of the areas on and around Main Street.

Mr. Lucas offered similar reasoning in calling for the rezoning of some land around East Main Street from Industrial Park to Village Zone.

Mr. Lucas suggested two other parcels be converted from their zoning designation to the Village Zone. In one case, the land on which St. Joseph's Church stands would be converted from low-density residential zoning. In another case, land on which the Upcounty Center is on would be converted from medium-density residential zoning.

Mr. Lucas also discussed the town's subdivisions.

Several Emmitsburg subdivisions have been built in the last 10 years with suburban style street layouts, Mr. Lucas noted. Some people have suggested the town take action to encourage more tradition-al grid layout subdivisions, he said.

The town could develop a "traditional design overlay" category, he suggested. To encourage developers to create subdivisions with grid streets, developers who did so within these overlays could be rewarded by being allowed to build denser developments, Mr. Lucas said.

There is little land in Emmitsburg still available for residential development, Mr. Lucas said. The overlay could be used for land that the town chooses to annex in the future, he said.

Finally, Mr. Lucas said the town plan should include a recommendation to adopt an adequate public facilities ordinance. Such an ordinance only allows new developments that would not overburden public facilities such as emergency services.

The board took no action Monday on the comprehensive plan or the proposed rezonings.

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