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Granite Quarry to revisit subdivision criteria

By Carl Blankenship
carl.blankenship@salisburypost.com

GRANITE QUARRY – The board of aldermen agreed Monday the town’s planning board should revisit the criteria for defining subdivisions.

The discussion started after Town Planner Steve Blount brought a suggestion from the planning board to the aldermen that would lower the maximum number of lots for the town’s “minor subdivision” classification from five to three.

The suggestion would have resulted in more major subdivisions, which have more requirements and a more complicated approval process that includes public notices. Major subdivisions take more time for towns and developers and also cost the the town some money, placing signs where the subdivision will be and paying for public notices. The maximum 10-acre tract size for a minor subdivision would have remained the same.

All subdivisions have a pre-application process, an application submission and a review. Majors subdivisions require notice for a public hearing and a hearing in front of the planning board before a decision is made.

Another suggestion presented by Blount during his presentation was to post signs at all pending subdivisions, major or minor, and include a phone number residents could call for information. The suggestions were specifically aimed at making residents aware of new subdivisions and providing them with information.

Mayor Bill Feather said a big concern is a lack of input on subdivisions.

“Can we look at our process to see how we can allow more comments from people?” Feather said. “And allow them to at least be heard.”

Blount also made a point of laying out how decisions on subdivisions are made: aldermen adopt the town’s Uniform Development Ordinance and the planning board operates according to the UDO as well as approving major subdivisions. The UDO currently gives Blount authority on approving minor subdivisions according to its guidelines.

“It boils down to a set of criteria that you have adopted,” Blount said.

Blount said he can answer questions for concerned neighbors, which would not make everyone happy but diffuse concerns about not knowing what is happening.

“I’m all in favor of having as much citizen input, absolutely as much as we want as many times as we want,” said Mayor Pro-Tem John Linker, adding that the town can not tell a developer “no” based on whether they like a project or not.

Others on the board chimed in to agree with Linker’s remark.

The board set the date for its annual budget workshop on Friday, March 20.

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