ELKTON — The Elkton Planning Commission will host a public hearing Monday night on an ordinance that outlines regulations for Planned Use Developments, which will set the future course for the Southfields project.
While the design for the 650-acre mixed-use development is still in the early stages, developer Stonewall Capital is planning for light industrial, commercial, recreation and residential use.
Because the town has no current PUD regulations, however, this ordinance will set the standard for Southfields and potential projects to follow. Drafted language was shelved during the 2013 comprehensive rezoning and has not been brought back into discussions.
The new ordinance creates PUDs as a floating zone — meaning, a designation that is not fixed to the town’s zoning map — to create a mix of residential use and commercial use developments under certain provisions that primarily serve the PUD residents or the greater region.
The PUD floating zone can be established for 50 acres or more. Additionally, the area must be under single ownership when a concept plan is filed with the town and the planning process begins.
Small PUDs must have less than 100 acres of contiguous property. Large PUDs can have noncontiguous parcels — land that does not have property sharing borders. These parcels, however, cannot be separated for more than one-quarter of a mile. Large PUDs cannot have more than two noncontiguous parcels.
Southfields is designated as a large PUD.
At least 50 percent of the total gross acreage must be used either for open space or residential use in the ordinance, whereas one-quarter of the gross total acreage must be used for open space for common use of PUD residents.
For each dwelling, there will be .02 acres allocated for parks and recreation areas. These can be areas such as dog parks, walking trails or a park. Parks and recreation use is capped, however, at 30 percent of the PUD’s open space.
Single-family detached dwellings must account for 45 percent of residences, which assuages Mayor Rob Alt’s desire to boost homeownership in Elkton.
Home ownership in the county has declined since the 2008 recession.
Further requirements state that PUDs must have at least two types of of residential use. This can mean duplexes, multi-family use, single family detached homes or townhouses.
Southfields is planning a high-end apartment complex as well as single-family homes. Under the proposed PUD language, the only way these units could be rented is as managed commercial apartments.
There is no cap on commercial use in the proposed PUD language.
In the PUD, height limits and density would mirror what Elkton already has on the books for commercial, residential and commercial use. For example, the maximum height for the Southfields apartments is 40 feet, because the land is already zoned high-density residential.
Landscape plans are required to be disseminated with the PUD’s preliminary site plan. Buffer yards are required between separate zoning districts within the PUD.
The Planning Commission may require reasonable provisions to screen residential uses from nonresidential and mixed-use within any current or future PUD.
If this ordinance is approved, a PUD floating zone can be recommended for approval or disapproval by the Planning Commission and would later be put to a vote by the Mayor and Commissioners.
The applicant must provide an outline land use percentages and, if developed in phases, a timeline of development with the floating zone application.
In the case the Mayor and Commissioners approves the floating PUD zone, the developer would then start the planning process.
Like all other projects in town, the PUD would be required to file concept, preliminary and final site plans. If the PUD is developed in phases, each phase would be processes as a separate development from that point on.
If the town administrator finds that proposed use would have an extraordinary impact on neighboring properties or the public, the town Board of Appeals would have to grant a special exemption.
In those cases, the town administrator would consider whether the use is proposed for an undeveloped or previously developed lot; whether the use is proposed for a site that poses peculiar traffic or other hazards; whether the proposed use is substantially unique or is likely to have impacts that differ substantially from those that are permitted in the zoning district.
The full proposed PUD language can be found at elkton.org under news and notices.
The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the PUD language ordinance at 7 p.m., Sept. 16 at at the Elkton Municipal Building, located at 100 Railroad Ave.