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Conservation-by-design methods considered in Pa.

September 15, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, PA.- Early proposals for conservation-by-design methods of development have Washington Township government leaders considering requirements that developers set aside 35 percent to 70 percent of their land as open space.

In doing so, developers would be permitted to build on smaller lots than allowed in the current zoning ordinance.

The proposals mirror those in place since May 2006 in neighboring Antrim Township.

A committee has been working on the Washington Township plans for a year and a half, according to Bob Schellhamer with Spotts, Stevens and McCoy municipal planners.

"They did not want to create regulations that allowed for fewer lots," he said.

The Washington Township Planning Commission received documents about conservation by design last Monday. The members agreed to hold a special meeting at 1 p.m. Sept. 22 for further review.

They spoke favorably of provisions in conservation by design that would require on-site meetings to protect natural resources. Trails and lots would be laid out to preserve those slopes, wetlands and streams.

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"We'd require an existing resources and features map that would map all the natural resources," Schellhamer said. "We envision this to be a very cooperative process."

The required open space and lot sizes would vary by zoning district, and small developments would be excluded from the new regulations.

"This does not replace your current zoning. It's included with your current zoning for developers," Schellhamer said.

"To me, it's a very complicated thing you and the committee are trying to do here," said Randy Kuhn, planning commission member.

Much of the initial application's review will be the responsibility of the township's contracted engineer, Schellhamer said.

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