Saturday, October 15, 2005

Cluster Development

Surveys conducted by the Dryden Town Planning Board in 1990 and 1999 revealed that a growing majority of Dryden residents believe that preserving open space in the Town of Dryden is important. In 1990 59% of repsondents believed it was important or very important. in 1999 the number had grown to 86%. The Planning Board has incorporated this concern into the Comprehensive Plan by focusing on channeling much of the anticipated development in the town to existing villages and hamlets and by recommending adjustments to zoning densities and creative use of cluster development and standards for multi-family dwellings.

The Dryden Town Board will be developing a local law to modify minimum lot area, width, depth and setback regulations in conjunction with conservation easments on adjacent open land. Let me describe an example. If a developer plans to build forty houses in a forty acre subdivision, current lot size and setback regulations in some areas would require each of those forty houses to be on its own one acre lot. Following cluster development plans, these requirements would be modified to allow the forty houses to be built on smaller individual lots contained within twenty acres with a conservation easement to maintain the remaining twenty acres as open space. Ideally the open space can be owned and managed by a homeowners association. If that's not possible it can be owned and managed by the town. For more information visit this excellent article from the University of Minnesota Extension Service. Thanks to Joe Laquatra, from the Dryden Town Planning Board for providing the link.

Similarly, recommendations for development of multi-family housing include limits on the number of units per acre, the maximum amout of land occupied by buildings and parking lots and a requrement that a percentage of the lot be dedicated to open space.

The application of these two concepts will help to achieve the goal of preserving open space in the Town of Dryden and I applaud the Planning Board and the Town Board for their committment to preserving the rural character of the town.


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