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Commissioners will decide fate of proposed development

June 17, 2002|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Commissioners will decide on Tuesday the fate of the 990-unit residential development proposed on 221 acres off Mount Aetna Road across from Black Rock Golf Course.

Commissioner Bert Iseminger said Sunday that the commissioners will discuss the project and take a vote.

If the county rejects the proposal, owner Manny Shaool can reapply in a year, Iseminger and Commissioner William Wivell said.

"That's pretty much the final word," Iseminger said.

If the commissioners approve the request, he said Shaool would have to submit development plans to the Washington County Planning Commission for approval.

Shaool has requested a Planned Urban Development zoning designation to build the development on the north side of Mount Aetna Road east of Sasha Boulevard. A PUD allows higher-density development on a property than would be allowed under existing zoning.

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The Planning Commission recommended last month that the commissioners not approve Shaool's request for a PUD.

The development would have 217 single-family homes, 70 duplexes, 223 townhouses and 480 condominiums, according to county planning documents.

The project would be built over a 10- to 15-year period.

Planning Commission members had concerns that the number and type of units were not compatible with the area and that the development would increase traffic on local roads.

The proposed project would be located in the county's Urban Growth Area, an area in which development is encouraged.

The condominiums and townhouses would be adjacent to undeveloped farmland, which is just outside the growth area.

Residents opposed to the project have said the development would overcrowd schools, particularly Eastern Elementary School.

Eastern has faced crowded conditions for a few years, and the enrollment this past school year fluctuated between 605 and 610 students, school officials have said. The school's capacity is 584 students, according to Washington County Board of Education statistics.

The School Board voted to redistrict some of those students to other schools to relieve overcrowding, but parents have argued that the number of students involved in the transfer wasn't enough.

The project is scheduled to be discussed at 9:45 a.m. on the second floor of the county administration building at 100 W. Washington St.

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