Council corrects UDO mistake

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 17, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

The error in the Unified Development Ordinance that has allowed cluster-housing developers to add dozens of extra homes to the city is officially fixed.

The City Council on Wednesday unanimously adopted a new formula to use for calculating incentive zoning density bonuses for cluster-housing subdivisions. The bonus program encourages cluster-housing developers to give up extra property for open space in exchange for the right to build extra houses in their planned communities.


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Although developers will receive significantly fewer bonus homes under the new formula, the Tidewater Builders Association, a lobbying organization for local developers, publicly endorsed it Wednesday. That organization, along with several local developers, helped the planning commission come up with the revised formula.

As an example, consider a developer planning to build a 100-house cluster subdivision in a rural/residential-zoned district opts to put up 15 acres of open space over what is required. Five acres are active open space; the remaining 10 acres, passive.

Under the new formula, the developer would only be allowed to add 10 additional houses.

As calculated under the previous formula, that developer would have the right to build an additional 225 houses. A policy that caps density bonuses from 30 percent to 40 percent of the total number of planned dwellings would have prevented that from happening.