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Camden rejects rezoning for higher density on 15-acre tract

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

CAMDEN — By a split vote, the Camden Board of Commissioners has rejected a rezoning proposal that would have allowed moderate-density development on a 15-acre tract along Country Club Road.

Eric Wood had asked the county to rezone about 15.6 acres he owns from rural residential to village residential. The new zoning would have allowed denser development on his property, which is located next to 204 and 208 Country Club Road.

According to county planning staff, Wood bought the property initially intending to carve out two one-acre lots, build two houses with septic systems, and keep the remainder of the land as farmland.

Commissioner Randy Krainiak said he could support allowing Wood to build two houses on two acres but not rezoning the entire 15-acre tract.

Krainiak made the motion to deny Wood’s rezoning application. The motion passed 3-2, with Commissioners Clayton Riggs and Garry Meiggs voting against it.

“I just don’t think it’s the right thing to do,” Krainiak said of Wood’s request, adding he was familiar with the area the applicant was seeking to rezone.

Asked later about his opposition, Krainiak said he has concerns about drainage at the site. Like many places in Camden there are “soft spots” on the property, he said, adding that one house for every two acres — as called for under rural residential zoning — is as much development as the area is likely to accommodate.

Krainiak said after a hard rain he has seen water across the road at Wood’s property.

Commissioners’ rejection of Wood’s application follows a unanimous recommendation of approval by the Camden County Planning Board on July 17. It also follows commissioners’ decision following a Sept. 9 public hearing on the proposal to place the rezoning application on the agenda for the board’s Oct. 7 meeting.

Under Camden’s current rural residential zoning, the minimum lot size is two acres. In contrast, village residential allows up to 4.35 dwellings per acre as well as a variety of housing types.

The planning board found that the rezoning would be consistent with the county’s comprehensive plan because the plan encourages higher density development within the county’s core villages.

“New development will be focused within targeted core areas to breathe new life into established county villages and to efficiently use existing and planned infrastructure and public resources,” the plan states.

The county staff report describes Wood’s property as “located inside the Courthouse Core Village.”

Commissioners who opposed the rezoning noted the property does not have sewer service.

The planning staff acknowledged there is not sewer service at the site now but pointed out the county has plans to extend sewer service to the area through a capital improvement plan.

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