- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The Charles County Planning Commission heard a briefing from county Planning and Growth Management staff at its Monday meeting to help guide a decision on whether to increase requirements for adequate public facilities for minor subdivisions in the county.
The county recently adopted a change, increasing the number of residential units allowed in a minor subdivision from five to seven. Minor subdivisions require developers to build fewer associated improvements — like traffic improvements or open space — for minor subdivisions than for major subdivisions.
Last week, the Charles County commissioners directed the planning commission to examine the current APF regulations for minor subdivisions and were given a window of 60 days to determine whether any changes need to made in light of the recent change in allowed lots.
PGM Chief of Resource and Infrastructure Management Jason Groth and Director Peter Aluotto reviewed for the commission the different steps necessary in the planning and development of a minor subdivision.
Aluotto said the biggest question appears to be regarding transportation and road maintenance, and argued that better road standards were necessary for “excessively long” driveways.
“If there are enough trips on it, then at some point that driveway becomes a road,” Aluotto said. “There’s no public interest in how long a person’s driveway can be. It’s the property owner’s responsibility to maintain.”
Aluotto noted that with the increase in the amount of homes in minor subdivisions, it was possible that the private maintenance of long driveways would become harder to keep up with if not all on its access points did what was expected of them.
With the increase, Aluotto noted, some minor subdivisions would end up with more than seven lots due to rules about grandfathered plats and parcel borders, and discussed increasing the necessary size in the right of way for common driveways accordingly. The right of way would be 16 feet for subdivisions with one to three lots and 18 feet for four to seven lots. Aluotto also suggested the driveways not be excessively long to defray the cost. The current maximum is 750 feet.
As PGM still is ironing out the details, the commission did not take action to approve any changes Monday.
The commission approved final plats for the 16-lot Piney Grove Estates development, located off Black Pine Lane in Waldorf, and for the 112-lot Fieldside neighborhood off St. Rita Drive in Waldorf.