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Westfields housing units OK'd

April 06, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - The Washington County Planning Commission voted unanimously Monday to give final approval to two sections of a 773-unit housing development off Sharpsburg Pike.

The commission voted 7-0 to give final plat approval to the first and second sections of Westfields, which will include single-family housing and duplexes.

Section one of the Westfields development, off Sharpsburg Pike near Saint James Village, will include 76 lots on 42 acres and will have 11 acres designated as open space, said Washington County Senior Planner Lisa Kelly Pietro.

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She said section two of the development will include 36 lots on 23 acres, with 7.6 acres designated as open space.

A total of 11 acres will be retained for forest conservation, Pietro said.

The entire development, formerly known as Saint James Park, is to take up more than 400 acres. Jim MacGillivray, vice president of Ausherman Development, Westfields' developer, said it will be completed in eight phases or sections.

Ausherman Development is required to contribute $823,760 to the Fountain Rock Elementary School district for sections one and two of the development, Pietro said.

Developers who build in areas where schools are at 85 percent capacity or more are required to contribute money that can be used to add classrooms or build new schools to increase capacity at a school.

MacGillivray said the company is negotiating with the Washington County Commissioners for 10 to 12 acres of land in the middle of the development to be used for a new school. He said the company will pay the fee regardless of the outcome of talks with the commissioners.

"That doesn't preclude the school - that doesn't say we're not going to do the schools," MacGillivray said. "This just allows us to move on for these two lots."

MacGillivray has said the positives of such an agreement would include the ability for children to walk to school and the existence of land nearby that could be used for recreational fields.

MacGillivray has also said that in Frederick, Md., Ausherman Development made a similar deal under which an elementary school was built in the 1,500-unit Whittier development.

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