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Posted on April 30, 2018 at 8:51 AM by PattiAnn Schultz
There has been a lot of conversation since last year about cluster development in the Town of Webster. Cluster development is a planning tool used by the Webster Planning Board to preserve the natural and scenic qualities of open space and to protect local ecology.
Some say that by using cluster development the Town of Webster’s Planning Board is increasing density of the undeveloped land and casing more traffic to be put on our local roads. This is just not true.
As you can read for yourself below (number (2) of the Town Code), in no case the number of dwelling plots or units used in cluster development will exceed the number the Planning Board would used if the land were subdivided into lots conforming to the minimum lot size and density requirements of Chapter 225.
So, I would like Webster residents to understand that cluster development is not bringing to Webster any more homes than an original plan would be on a normal Town Code Chapter 225 plan would. If a normal density plan contained 100 homes, a cluster development cannot be developed with any more homes than 100 homes as well. It is as simple as that. With a cluster development more land is set aside for park land, or open space, for that sub-division than in a normal density plan that would have larger lots, causing the new homeowner to cut more grass, but the total homes would be the same.
Legislative authority. The Town Board of the Town of Webster enacts this section of the Code of the Town of Webster pursuant to its authority under New York State Town Law § 278.
Legislative intent. It is the intent and purpose of this section to enable and encourage flexibility in the design and development of land in such a way as to promote the most appropriate use of land, to facilitate the adequate and economical provision of streets and utilities, to preserve the natural and scenic qualities of open space and to protect local ecology, major strands of trees, steep slopes, geological features and other areas of environmental value.
Modifications authorized. The Planning Board of the Town of Webster is authorized, simultaneously with the approval of a plat or plats pursuant to Article 16 of the New York State Town Law and Chapter 192 of the Code of the Town of Webster, to modify applicable provisions of Chapter 225 (Webster Zoning Ordinance) of the Code of the Town of Webster.
Number of dwelling units permitted.
The maximum permitted number of dwelling units or building lots shall be determined by dividing the land area of the subject property by the normal minimum required lot area for the zoning district in which it lies. However, prior to determining the number of dwelling units or building lots, the parcel to be developed shall be adjusted as follows:
Lands used by public structures or rights-of-way may not be considered as part of the total gross area.
Water bodies, all areas within the one-hundred-year flood boundary as indicated on the Flood Insurance Maps (FIRMs) issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state and federal wetlands shall be subtracted from the total gross area.
Where up to 25% of the total gross area of the parcel to be developed consists of land with slopes equal to or greater than 15%, 1/2 of the total of such land shall be subtracted from the total gross area. Where more than 25% of the total parcel to be developed consists of land with slopes equal to or greater than 15%, 1/2 of 25% of the total gross area, together with the amount of land with slopes equal to or greater than 15% in excess of the initial 25% of the total gross area shall be subtracted to determine the adjusted gross area.
The adjusted total gross area of the parcel, as determined in Subsection D(1)(a), (b) and (c) above, shall then be used to compute the maximum number of dwelling units or building lots permitted.
Wetland buffers can be included in the density calculation for the development, but shall be excluded from any potential development themselves.
In no case shall the number of building plots or dwelling units exceed the number which could be permitted, in the Planning Board's judgment, if the land were subdivided into lots conforming to the minimum lot size and density requirements of Chapter 225, Zoning, of the Code of the Town of Webster.
As you can surely see in the Webster Town Code, cluster development is addressed and it is not creating more homes than normally can be built. It is not creating more traffic than an original planning plan could build. It is providing new Webster residents with a new home on a smaller lot with green space or park land within their sub-division, with the advantage to live in a town with 1,426 acres of open space, 11 different parks, 27 miles of trails, an outstanding Webster Police Department and Highway Department that provides outstanding services during all four seasons of the year, and town employees that greatly care about the residents we serve.
As always, if you have any questions about your town government, please feel free to contact me during regular business hours at (585) 872-7068; or email me anytime at email@example.com.
Ronald W. Nesbitt