Planners to consider ‘cluster’ regulations
MILFORD – The Caroline County Planning Commission likely will be reviewing proposed regulations in coming weeks and months to allow greater building density of single family homes in subdivisions created in rural areas.
Local governments are under a mandate to adopt the new planning strategy, aimed at conserving more open space in rural areas, under legislation adopted by the General Assembly about five or six years ago, according to county planner Angeline Pitts, who briefed the commission at a work session meeting on Wednesday of last week.
The regulations would allow a landowner to condense the footprint of a development in order to conserve more open land, Pitts explained.
Most of the county’s rural land is zoned rural preservation, a zoning district that requires a building lot to be a minimum of 10 acres. The regulations to be drafted and considered would allow homes to be clustered closer together with smaller minimum lot requirements. It would give the landowner the option of clustering homes, not require that they be clustered.
State law requires that localities adopt the planning tool on 40 percent of unimproved land zoned rural preservation or agricultural preservation.
It will be at least the second time the Planning Commission has visited the issue. “It never got very far,” Pitts told the panel, when it was considered several years ago.
A potential developer is interested in using the new planning tool, she indicated.
Walter “Pete” Davis, chairman of the commission, suggested the panel should look at designating areas near growth centers for the new planning tool because of the proximity of utilities and other amenities. In addition, he suggested the commission also begin to study transferable development rights at the same time it begins the process of considering the cluster regulations.
The county’s planning staff is expected to bring the commission more information about the proposed cluster regulations at its next regular scheduled work session on Sept. 5.