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Cluster development amendment rejected

Richard D. L. Fulton

(5/15) Carroll Valley Borough council members voted following a May 13 public hearing to reject changes proposed to the borough zoning ordinance.

The amendments would have paved the way for the commencement of the land development process of a proposed multi-hundred unit housing project.

In a 4-2 vote, the borough Council rejected zoning changes that would have facilitated the creation of phased-in housing developments comprised of a variety of housing types based on market demands.

Council members Dan Patton, Neal Abrams, Janis Ashman, and Tom Fitzsimmons voted against the proposed changes. Council President John Van Volkenburgh and Councilman Ken Lundberg voted in favor. Councilwoman Tammy Lytle was absent.

The defeated zoning changes had been proposed by Eluma, Inc., specifically as the result of a housing development they are presently considering on a 107-acre tract wooded site bordered by Sanders and Tract roads, and butted-up against the borough’s K-section residential area.

However, the changes would have been applicable to any new development in the borough if they had been approved by the council.

If the zoning changes had been implemented by the council allowing Eluma to proceed to the land development plan phase of the project, the company promised to pay for the upgrade to the existing 40-year-old municipal wastewater treatment plant to increase its capacity and overall operation as part of any final subdivision approvals.

A number of the several dozen resident attending the public hearing spoke-out against the approval of the proposed changes at the hearing, mostly expressing their concerns over the potential increase in traffic, numbers of residents, and possible adverse impacts on the "quality of life" in the municipality.

Borough Planning Commission Chairman Edward Kaplan reviewed the work of that entity in assisting Eluma in ironing-out the proposed amendment and amassing answers to questions regarding the changes that had been previously posed by council members and the public.

None of the residents in attendance spoke out in favor of the changes.

Eluma already has a circa-2006 approved 107 single-family home development, and is further "armed" with a court order which mandates that the municipality provide the development with sewer service.

Also, the development operation could come back before the planning commission and the borough Council with a multi-hundred unit townhouse development plan in lieu of the approved 107-unit project, which would be permitted under the existing zoning ordinance.

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