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Planning Commission - July 2023 Meeting Report

Planning Commissioner Resigns: Leslie Dickinson resigned from the Planning Commission effective July 31st.

Beck Property: 2 days for Q&A/Public Hearing will be scheduled for September 27th and 30th. The Planning Commission discussed Pleasants Development's request for a public hearing on, what is now being called, "Mount Airy Crossing." There was a lot of back-and-forth on what type of format would enable citizens to have their questions about the plan answered, in addition to providing public hearing comments. Ultimately, it was decided that participation would be maximized by having two sessions, one on a weeknight and one on the weekend. The current plan consists of a 492 homes and 130K+ sq ft of commercial development on the east and west sides of Rt. 27 adjacent to Watkins Park and Knill's Farm.

3 Hill Street (Cold Storage Property): The Planning Commission rejected the application for the Cold Storage Property because it did not meet the applicable zoning requirements. The Wormald Companies' had proposed re-development of the parcel as a 48-townhome community for senior citizens situated on 6.8 acres. Members of the public and planning commission pointed out several flaws with the plan, including the request for 7 exceptions to the code and the density of the proposal.

Ordinance to change open space inadequacy waiver threshold for Mixed Use District (MXD) (2023-30): The Planning Commission voted to send 2023-30 back to the Town Council with a favorable recommendation for approval. This ordinance would require that MXD developments provide 3 acres open space for every 100 new residents to qualify for a waiver of open space inadequacy. The town is in an open space deficit of 80+ acres. Current code allows for a waiver of adequate open space requirements if an MXD development provides just 10% open space, which would increase the town's deficit of open space. Passage of this ordinance will ensure MXD developments follow the same rules that other types of development do when it comes to open space. *Note: The link above starts with Pleasants comments on 2023-32 and then moves into discussion on 2023-30.

Ordinance amending Mixed Use District (MXD) provisions related to open space (2023-32): Planning Commission decided to continue discussion on this ordinance at the next meeting. There were quite a few comments on this ordinance, but the PC did not have time to discuss thoroughly and instead will carry this over to next month's meeting. This ordinance would change current MXD zoning by increasing required open space, restricting cannabis businesses in the zone, reducing allowable density, limiting the number of townhomes per row, and revising setback requirements.

Cannabis Ordinances to be combined: Ordinances 2023-35 and 2023-39 will be combined and moved to next month's Planning Commission agenda.

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