The County Council will postpone until March a vote on the number of new homes it will allow to be built in the decade beginning in 1996.
Council Chairwoman Shane Pendergrass, D-1st District, and Councilman Darrel Drown, R-2nd, said last night at a work session they were opposed to projections provided by the planning and zoning department.
The council was to have voted on the measure Feb. 1, but Ms. Pendergrass suggested the vote be postponed until March 1.
"The problem for me is the southeast [school] region, and the problem for Darrel, I assume, is the northeast [school] region," she said.
The planning and zoning department projections were included in a housing allocation chart for the decade beginning in 1996 in accordance with the county's 1990 general plan.
According to the general plan, the county would limit its residential growth to a rolling average of 2,500 units a year for the next 20 years, with most of that growth occurring in the first 10 years.
The rolling average called for 2,500 units a year until 1995; 2,750 units a year from 1996 to 2000, and 3,000 units a year from 2001 to 2005. After that, the number of units would fall to 1,700 a year.
Although the housing allocation chart prepared by planning and zoning for adoption by the council followed those numbers almost exactly, Ms. Pendergrass and Mr. Drown felt the growth reflected in the chart was too great and would lead to school overcrowding in the southeast and northeast school regions.
The southeast region is mostly in the district Ms. Pendergrass represents, and the northeast region is mostly in Mr. Drown's district.
The council is required to adopt a new decade-long housing allocation chart each year in order to assure that the county's roads and schools can adequately handle the projected growth.
The number of projected units the planning and zoning department prepared for the southeast region -- 7,589 from 1996 to 2006 -- were too high, Ms. Pendergrass said last week at a public hearing.
She and Mr. Drown asked for new projections based on a maximum of 2,500 units a year, and the planning department provided them with two options the work session that would do just that.
The first option would arbitrarily delete 1,260 units from both the southeast district and the northeast district. The second option would delete 654 units from the northeast, and 1,439 from the southeast.
The second option includes units already planned for those districts, said Joseph W. Rutter Jr., the county planning and zoning director. Mr. Rutter said the administration sticks by the general plan projections.
"I want to shut down at the beginning rather than the end of the process," Mr. Drown said. "We can't pull the carpet out from under people again. That's why I'm looking at 2,500 units a year."
Councilman Charles C. Feaga, R-5th, said he is "very reluctant" to change the housing allocation numbers. He said the projections had become "almost sacred" when adopted in the general plan.