STRASBURG — The Strasburg Town Council has failed to come to a consensus on a set of text amendments to the town’s unified development ordinance.
In a lengthy, 90-minute discussion during Monday’s Town Council work session, members debated about how many townhouses developers should be able to build in one building.
Currently, developers can build four townhouses in one building. But Strasburg’s Planning Commission recently voted to allow developers to build between five and eight townhouses in a single building, as long as all of those townhouses have garages in them. Buildings with four townhouses would not need to have garages under the Planning Commission vote.
But the changes to the town’s unified development ordinance need to pass through the Town Council before taking effect. And the Town Council failed to come up with an agreement on Monday.
During Monday’s discussion, some Town Council members suggested that the maximum number of townhouses in a single building should be limited to six at the most, while other members said they were comfortable with allowing eight townhouses in a building.
At one point, Mayor Rich Orndorff Jr. said that he didn’t know whether the town should require garages in townhouses that are in buildings with five or more townhouses.
“I wonder about us requiring garages,” Orndorff said.
Planning Commission members wanted to require garages in townhouses that are part of longer blocks of townhouses so residents could have easier access to their front yards.
Monday’s standstill brings uncertainty about the fate of the planned Cedar Valley development at 33227 Old Valley Pike.
Although the changes to the town’s unified development ordinance would apply to all future developments, the proposals were brought forward by the developers of the Cedar Valley project in an effort to bring earlier plans into compliance with the town’s unified development ordinance.
Because of delays in the Cedar Valley development, those earlier plans were approved by the town before the unified development ordinance was enacted.
Without changes to the town’s unified development ordinance, the developers behind that project will not be able to implement their plans.
It is not yet clear how the Town Council intends to handle the impasse. During Monday’s discussion, some members brought up potential solutions, like grandfathering the Cedar Valley development into the unified development ordinance so it would not have to follow the ordinance’s rules surrounding the number of townhouses allowed in a single building.
But those suggestions came to a halt near the end of a 90-minute discussion when Orndorff said that the Town Council was not going to figure out how to handle the ordinance changes by the end of Monday’s work session.
“We could go on all night and I don’t believe we’re getting anywhere,” Orndorff said at one point.
Monday’s standstill means that it does not appear that the Town Council will vote on the ordinance changes during its February meeting on Tuesday.