By Alex Bridges
A developer could build a variety of homes in a Strasburg housing project under a proposal before town planners.
Derby Ridge Investors received approval in 2005 to conditionally rezone 65 acres of land near Junction Road and Green Acre Drive. The initial rezoning limited the project to 132 single-family homes and 2.02 units per acre. The developer sought to build 12,000-square-foot homes on each lot.
The site has remained largely dormant since then. The rezoning approval came just before the housing market fell through and the economy started to sour.
Strasburg received a request in April to change the residential zoning of the site to a category that allows for a greater density. The developer now proposes to build up to 205 units on the site or 3.13 units per acre. The proposal calls for the construction of 78 town houses, 72 single-family lots with homes of at least 6,500 square feet, and 55 single-family homes of at least 9,000 square feet.
Economic Development and Planning Manager Kimberly Murray commented Friday that the proposed mix of residential units remains consistent with the Community Plan. Murray has noted that the proposal offers a more appropriate density and housing mix for the site.
The Planning Commission discussed the rezoning request at its meeting Tuesday. Jeff Goldberg, a representative of Derby Ridge, has appeared before the panel as members consider the proposal.
The commission needs to schedule a public hearing for the request. Murray said the commission may hold the hearing at its Sept. 24 meeting.
The town also plans to send notices to residents and owners of properties adjacent to the Derby Ridge site advising them of the upcoming public hearing and the developer's intentions.
"My understanding in talking to the owner is he doesn't have any immediate plans to build on the property right now," Murray said. "He's just trying to get the zoning in line with some future development down the road."
The developer has not yet submitted revised sketches of the proposed project to reflect the changes in housing make-up. A concept plan lays out the lots, but that document is not binding, Murray explained.
"There's obviously some restrictions due to topography and wetlands and things like that," Murray said.
Staff generated a comparison of the different sets of voluntary monetary contributions and proposed housing make-up, or proffers, that go with the applications.
Design plans call for the construction of entrances to the development from Junction Road and Green Acres Drive.
The developer also proposes to change the proffers that coincide with the construction of the project from $992,376 as included in the original rezoning to slightly more than $1.5 million. Under the latest proposal, the entire amount of monetary contributions would go to the town. Earlier proposals called for the developer to make contributions to the town, county, the school system, the fire department and parks on a per-lot basis.
Murray noted that the developer may revise the set of proffers again before the commission takes action on the proposal.
The amount in monetary contributions increased significantly from the initial rezoning proposal submitted in April and a revised set of proffers made July 18. The developer had proposed proffers of approximately $420,000 and spread among the town, county, schools and fire department.
The owner also plans to provide nine acres of dedicated open space and three small parks with equipment given to the town upon completion of the project. Specifically the applicant has offered to create a separate parcel of nine acres around streams, a pond and wetlands on the property.
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or firstname.lastname@example.org