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Votes

Greater Density?

Commission reviews Elkins Heights subdivision.

The Planning Commission continued the application for a preliminary subdivision plan of Elkins Heights to its next public hearing in September because it needs more time to review the plan.

The subdivision plan proposes to re-subdivide the three existing R-10 zoned residential lots, with a combined square footage of 221,333, into 15 lots and one out lot. The proposal includes the removal of two of the three existing dwellings with the third remaining, but on a smaller lot. The plan states that five of the lots, including the remaining house, will face Madison Street with the remaining 10 lots and the out lot facing the proposed cul-de-sac. The cul-de-sac will be created so that it ends in the out lot with the intentions that it can be made into a continuing road in the future if and when the out lot is developed.

RESIDENTS ON Madison Street came out to express their concerns of the plan. One issue was the increase of traffic.

Many residents are worried about the construction vehicles, saying Madison Street, the planned access point, has at least 16 school-aged children who play in the narrow, quiet street. Another concern was the increase in traffic after the completion of the housing. The plan currently shows the entrance to the cul-de-sac road as three-quarters of the way down Madison Street, which would make some new residents of the development have to double-back to get to their homes. Residents felt the layout of the plan would be more efficient with the entrance to the development at the front instead of the back of the area.

ANOTHER CONCERN was the storm water management plan for the development. The current plan is to develop a rain garden on each lot. A rain garden is an area within a yard that collects rainwater, then the soil of the garden, which has been adjusted to enhance the retention and filtration properties of the soil, allows the rain water to filter through in 24- to 48-hours.

Nancy Jo Cranmer, the representative sent by the developer Paciulli Simmons & Associates, said rain gardens have been used in Prince George's County, Md., for the last 10 years and have been a success. But resident John De Noyer pointed out that the soil in Prince George's is coastal and contains more sand, whereas the soil in Virginia is piedmont soil, containing more clay and does not allow quick absorption of rain water.

Another issue was the maintenance of the rain gardens. Although they are easy to maintain, it would be required of home owners to make sure their gardens were filtering properly, something residents are worried that not every new owner may do.

The commission decided to continue the plan because it felt it needed to learn more about rain gardens and to decide how it would make sure that each home owner would be responsible for the rain garden on their lot, so the town would not be responsible for the maintenance.

<1b>— Brynn Grimley