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Development law changes sent to council

Richard Fulton

(8/8) The Carroll Valley Borough Planning Commission voted at their August 5 meeting to send proposed zoning ordinance changes to council that would, if adopted, facilitate the creation of a 428-unit housing development.

In a 5-2 votes, the board decided to send the draft, revised zoning ordinance to the borough Council for further consideration with conditions. The conditions revolved essentially around developing what the word “phase” would entail.

The development is being proposed by Eluma, Inc. on a 107-acre wooded site bordered by Sanders and Tract roads and butted-up against the borough’s K-section residential area. The developers would like to create the housing project in multiple phases.

Eluma is seeking to be able to build the housing complex, based on the creation of a number of phases spread over an unspecified period of time, with proposed housing types based on prevailing housing demands which might occur during the various periods of construction.

The planning commission said that the term “phase” had no definitive definition. They also expressed concerns about what percent of a phase needs to be completed before additional phases could commence. The board then decided to let the borough attorney review the phase issues and pass the decision-making regarding the specifics of phasing on to the council.

Current zoning on the 107-acre tract allows for 535 single family homes, the representatives of Eluma sad there is not viable market for those types of homes at the present time, and may not be viable for some time to come.

The changes to the zoning ordinance proposed only concern cluster housing, a housing category that the developers are interested in employing in lieu of the potentially less economically viable single family homes currently permitted.

Board members and representatives of Eluma have been working together for nearly a year to hone zoning ordinance changes that would even allow for the development to be built as proposed.

As the result of previous meetings with the planning commission, some additional changes were offered by the developers at the August 5 meeting, including the elimination to any reference to apartments, proposed maximum building heights was reduced from 45 feet to 35 feet, and the gross density was reduced from five units per acre to four units per acre.

Planning commission members Robert Verderaime and John Schubring voted against moving the proposed amended ordinance to council, Verderaime stating the applicants, in his opinion, had not fully presented a compelling case for the proposed changes.

Commission member Dan Patton was absent.

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