Hundreds Of Residents Fight Clustering Development

1991: The Year In Review

December 29, 1991

10 When the county's Rural Land Use Study Commission held a hearing last spring to suggest alternatives to the one-house per 3-acre zoning in western Howard County, a boisterous, sometimes rowdy crowd of more than 300 people nearly forced them off the stage.

The seven-member ad-hoc commission had been appointed by the County Council in January to suggest ways cluster zoning could occur.

But most people attending the hearing were not interested in the commission's clustering scenarios.

If the county really wanted to preserve land, they said, it would continue the current one-house per3-acre zoning because nothing could be built between them and their neighbors' lots.

Clustering is the centerpiece of the administration's comprehensive rezoning package for western Howard County.

Theplan would rezone 49,579 rural acres still uncommitted to development by keeping new development as close as possible to existing development.

To accomplish this, the west would be divided into two districts -- rural residential and rural conservation. Clustering would beencouraged in portions of the residential district and required for parcels of 20 acres or more in the conservation district.

The cluster option would allow developers to build at a density of one house per 5 gross acres and cluster them on 33,000-square-foot lots -- eachlot being approximately 3/4 acre -- if the lots share a septic system. Shared septic systems would be maintained by the county.

The minimum size for clustered lots that don't share a septic system wouldbe 40,000 square feet, or slightly less than an acre. Every subdivision, whether clustered or not, would have to keep 5 percent of the acreage as open space or pay a fee.

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