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Emmitsburg Town Council to consider
 ‘hold zoning’

(4/28) Emmitsburg Town Council may soon be considering adopting a new zoning designation to help free-up currently reserved taps allocations.

Town Manager David Haller told the council Monday evening, “It certainly appears that we have a lot more land zoned for uses that will not be involved in that use for 50 years maybe.”

“I think you really need to look at (this) now that the state has changed its planning standards (to say) ‘If you bring it in and you zone it, you have to be able to serve it,” meaning that a sufficient number of taps must be reserved to ensure there is a supply to serve a given parcel as per its zoning regardless of when the site might be developed.

As things presently stand, “I can’t bring somebody else in, in a use that might be ready to go in three years, because I can’t serve it because I’m holding taps and capacity for this (other) property that I know doggone well isn’t going to be fully developed for 20, 30 or 40 years,” he said.

Haller suggested the town consider a zoning concept it has never considered before.

“I think that you should consider developing some type of holding zone where a property can be in town and not be zoned so that you would have to allocate taps to that property,” he said.

The town manager suggested, “It could be a residential zone called ‘R Hold,’ where you could only develop one unit for every 40 acres or every 20 acres. You’re still a residential zone but you could only build one house on that 40 acres of property. That means I only have to hold one tap.”

When activity shows up...and someone and asks for a rezoning, then you zone it up. Then you allocate the taps there so that (otherwise) you’re not having all these taps allocated everywhere when you know all those properties are not going to be developing,” he said.

Asked if the rezoning strategy could pass state muster, Haller said, “By state law you can only rezone under two circumstances…One is comprehensive rezoning. Other than that, there has to have been found a mistake in the present zoning. I think they were riding horses the last time somebody won that case in the court.”

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