Development near Marsh Pike passes planning hurdle

June 04, 2002|by TARA REILLY

The Washington County Planning Commission voted Monday to recommend that the County Commissioners approve a special zoning designation that would allow a 265-unit residential development in the Marsh Pike area.

The same recommendation suggests the County Commissioners not include nine acres set aside for commercial development as part of that special zoning designation.

Planning Commission members said they would discuss at future meetings what might be built on those nine acres.

County Commissioner and Planning Commission member Bert Iseminger said the county probably would discuss the proposed development in about three weeks. The commissioners have the final say in the matter.


The development, called Emerald Pointe, is proposed for 97-acres just north of the intersection of Leitersburg and Marsh pikes. Commercial development is proposed for just over nine acres, where Leitersburg and Marsh pikes intersect.

Emerald Pointe would consist of 88 townhouses, 85 single-family homes and 92 duplexes. A community center with a fitness center and a swimming pool would be included.

The homes would range in price from $180,000 to more than $300,000.

The developer, Paul N. Crampton Jr., has not said what would be built on the commercial land.

Crampton declined to comment after the Planning Commission vote.

He is seeking a Planned Urban Development, or PUD, zoning designation for the project.

A PUD allows higher-density development on property than would be allowed under a property's existing zoning. The land is currently zoned agricultural.

Planning Commission Chairwoman Paula Lampton and member George Anikis said they couldn't support commercial property for the proposed development, because they didn't see how it would benefit the county.

A report put together by county planning staff said the property would be near a partially vacant Long Meadow Shopping Center and that Crampton failed to make a "compelling case why more commercial acreage" is needed at the Leitersburg and Marsh pikes intersection.

"I think it's uncalled for," Anikis said. "I think it's in the wrong place ... I just don't see where the residents or the county benefit from it."

Before making its recommendation, Planning Commission members disagreed over whether to include the commercial property in the recommendation.

The Planning Commission voted 3-1 on the recommendation in favor of the zoning designation but against the commercial development.

Lampton, Anikis and Donald Ardinger voted for the recommendation, while R. Ben Clopper voted against the recommendation. Iseminger, Timothy G. Henry and Vice Chair Robert E. Ernst II abstained.

Iseminger said he abstained because he will take a final vote on the proposal as a county commissioner, while Henry and Ernst cited possible conflicts of interest as reasons for abstaining.

Clopper said he voted against the measure because he didn't have a problem with including the commercial development as part of the PUD.

At a March public hearing, 37 residents spoke out against the proposed development, stating it would increase traffic, overcrowd the local elementary school and change the character of the neighborhood, which is predominately single-family homes.

Resident Jim Laird, who does not live near the proposed development, said after Monday's meeting that he would share similar concerns if he did live near it.

"If I lived beside of it, I wouldn't like the neighboring density," Laird said. "These PUDs cause a lot more traffic."

Laird and resident Hank Livelsberger said they're trying to start a group that would keep an eye on development in the county.

"We feel like it's a problem already, it needs to be addressed," Laird said.

The Herald-Mail Articles