Friday, August 22, 2008

Summer Post - Zoning and Residential Cluster Developments

This may sound like an extremely boring topic, but it is a topic that our community is currently facing and may affect you in the future. Therefore, I am curious about your reactions to it. First, a couple of definitions:

Zoning - Zoning is the way the governments control the physical development of land and the kinds of uses to which each individual property may be put.

Zoning laws typically specify the areas in which residential, industrial, recreational or commercial activities may take place. For example, an R-1 residential zone might allow only single-family detached homes as opposed to duplexes or apartment complexes. On the other hand, a C-1 commercial zone might be zoned to permit only certain commercial or industrial uses in one jurisdiction, but permit a mix of housing and businesses in another jurisdiction.

Residential Cluster Development is a means of permanently protecting open space, rural character, and important environmental resources in new housing developments, while providing homeowners with good housing and landowners with the opportunity to develop their property.

Here in Morgan County, a large cluster development is being proposed to build 1200 new homes in the area that was once known as Coolfont. The company planning to build is the Carl M. Freeman Company. The company plans to build a lake and golf course as well. The company has many built many cluster developments along the east coast and periodically holds public informational meetings to inform citizens of their plans. They have also invested in the community by providing funding opportunities for community projects.

Most residential cluster developments are built in areas where there is a zoning ordinance in place, but here in Morgan County we do not have a zoning ordinance. Any building plans must be reviewed by the Morgan County Planning Commission prior to approval. Other than those restrictions, and some rules established by individual developments, residents may do what they wish with their property. Morgan County residents have expressed concerns about this development for various reasons ranging from traffic concerns to water quantity concerns.

I am interested in what you think. Read the following article about residential cluster developments and let me know what your thoughts are. Do you have any questions or concerns this type of development.

Then read some of the articles in the Morgan Messenger ( about what Freeman & Company plan to build. Write a reflective paragraph about what some of your concerns might be should this development be approved by the local planning commission.

1 comment:

Sabrina said...

I PERSONALLY think that they should have left Coolfont the way it was. Nobody wants more people here. The way our economy is set up (as a tourist economy), we really CAN'T have more people. We don't really have enough in this town to support that many more people. We aren't alowd to have luxeries like Wal-mart or a mall. Plus, imagine the traffic. That would be awful considering it's already bad enough on any givin Friday afternoon. A few years ago i remember them talking about a by-pass. I REALLY think we should go on with those plans. You know a tourist doesn't want to come to Berkeley Springs just to sit in traffic.