PUD program mulled for Taneytown NORTHWEST--Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown

June 03, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

The Taneytown Planning and Zoning Commission wants to institute a Planned Unit Development (PUD) program that would give developers flexibility in building in exchange for open space areas.

The program would also allow developers to build residential and commercial structures in the same areas.

"It really is a planning dream that you have a chance to sit down and build an area from scratch," said City Manager Joseph A. Mangini Jr.

"What we are planning for is an ordinance that would allow developers coming into the city to prepare all types of buildings in one project, providing it meets certain criteria."

The commission discussed the project during the city's monthly meeting Tuesday.

James L. Schumaker, Sykesville town manager, presented information about a similar program in place in his town.

"We have been discussing it for the past couple of months and we decided it was time to work ahead for it," Mr. Mangini said. "It's a good plan. It enables the city to be more in control, to be able to sit down with the developer and make changes."

The PUD program may work differently with each development, Mr. Mangini said.

For example, in an R-10,000 (single-family home) residential zone, a developer has a 10-acre tract of land that allows for one single-family home per lot that is a minimum of 10,000 square feet.

Under PUD, houses can be closer together and lots smaller.

In exchange for this building flexibility, developers would have to provide common open-space areas for the residents.

Mr. Mangini said the city now requires developers to set aside 10 percent of the developed land for open space, but some developers opt to pay a $500 park impact fee in lieu of providing open space.

A PUD project could include duplexes, townhouses, single-family homes, garden apartments and some small commercial building, such as a convenience store or professional offices.

Councilman Henry C. Heine, also a commission member, said that while the plan will not please everyone, residents in the planned community would see many benefits to having some commercial businesses near their homes.

"A lot of times, if people want something like a loaf of bread, they have to get into their car and go get it," said Mr. Heine, who lives on East Baltimore Street.

"But one of the many things I enjoy about living around here is that I can walk or, if I'm feeling lazy, send one of the kids to pick up something from the store."

Mr. Heine, an engineer with the Mass Transit Administration, said he realized during a transportation seminar that PUDs could also have a positive effect on the environment.

"One of the biggest things we can do for the environment is eliminate 'trips,' " he said. Any ride in the car is considered a "trip."

"All those things add up, and what I see out of all this [planned development] is a more homogeneous community," he said, "all the conveniences at your fingertips."

It also seems that Taneytown has both the supply and demand necessary for planned developments.

Mr. Mangini said several areas, such as land near Evapco Inc. on Frederick Street and an area behind the Nationwide Insurance office on East Baltimore Street, could be used for PUD projects.

And during monthly council meetings, several residents have voiced concerns about the lack of open space in city developments.

Mr. Mangini said the ideas are still in the initial stages, but he expects things to move smoothly until the commission can put together a proposal for the council to consider.

"The key thing, though, is to make a proposal that would not increase density. You would still have to maintain 40 units in an R-10,000 zone," Mr. Mangini said.

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