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Council fails to pass cluster zoning changes

Richard Fulton

(11/12) The Carroll Valley Borough Council failed to propose a motion following a public hearing at their November 11 meeting regarding changes amending a section of the zoning ordinance addressing cluster housing.

Dozens of residents attended the public hearing, about ten of which expressed their support or lack thereof for the zoning changes, or sought clarification of the details of the proposal.

The proposed changes, which had been prepared by Eluma, Inc. and the borough Planning Commission, was produced in conjunction with the development company’s effort to develop a 428-unit housing development on a 107-acre wooded site bordered by Sanders and Tract roads, and butted-up against the borough’s K-section residential area.

Among other changes, such as the reduction of the number of housing units allowed in cluster developments and the elimination of apartment buildings in residential zones, the failed proposal also provided for cluster development to be constructed in phases or “sections.”

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 failure to even acquire a motion on behalf of the changes represented a set-back for Eluma, the corporation that had worked on the draft changes along with the borough Planning Commission.

The planning commission had voted 5-2 at their August 5 meeting to send the draft, revised zoning ordinance to the borough Council for further consideration.

Following the standing-room only public hearing, the proposal failed for lack of a motion without comment by council members. The applicants could ask for reconsideration anytime during the next 90 days without triggering the need for a second public hearing.

Eluma has a circa-2006 approved 107 single-family home, and is further “armed” with a court order which mandates that the municipality provide the development with sewer service. Under the current ordnance, the development plans could be changed to build more than 500 homes, with sewer connections paid for by the town by virtue of the existing court order.

The company had proposed to overhaul the existing sewer plant, incorporating the connections at their expense as part of the current proposal.

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