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Planning looks at Ramsey Green

By Staff | Jan 25, 2013

The Shepherdstown Planning Commission held a special meeting to discuss version two of the draft regulatory plan and code for the proposed Rumsey Green development.

Members of the commission reviewed work completed by a special Rumsey Green committee, who have worked hand and hand with the Rumsey Green Development group and Shepherdstown’s project consultants, Placemakers.

The two-hour meeting focused on six main issues associated with the project’s development including parking, open space, percentage of residential in mixed use space, building materials, the Historic Landmarks Commission review on the project and signage.

Parking was at the center of much discussion.

“Parking is sort of critical,” Commissioner Stephen Ayraud said as he presented the Rumsey Green committee’s recommendations.

Ayraud explained that parking determines density and leads to the amount of units per square foot of commercial/residential space that can be included in the development.

Commission member David Springer asked about management of parking in the new development.

“Is it envisioned that well have the parking regulations that we have in the central area of town?” he said.

Springer asked about possible constraints caused by the limited number of suggested spaces.

For the mixed use residential area, Placemakers suggested one off street space per dwelling and 0.5 off street space per unit in a “parking pool.”

In a discussion of open space, the commission considered the new rules in relation to existing Title 9 ordinance for historic downtown.

Though the Title 9 ordinance calls for 10 percent open space, Placemakers has suggested 6 percent in the Rumsey Green Development.

New Commission president Karene Motivans supported the six percentage suggestion.

“I think 6 percent is appropriate,” she said.

Commissioner Kathryn Bragg-Stella acknowledged concerns about the more limited space but explained that the “quality of landscaping” could serve to mitigate the issue of limited open space.

The commission also discussed recommendations made by the Historic Landmarks Commission with regard to the project.

Though the Rumsey Green Development Group requested to be relieved of the requirement for an HLC review on the basis of the development’s modern nature and location, Planning Commission members discussed the possibility of working alongside the HLC in a series of workshops instead, citing the HLC’s special expertise and value.

The Rumsey Green Committee will continue its work on a draft regulatory plan and code for Rumsey Green. Regular Planning Commission meetings are held the third Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. Meeting agendas and times for the Rumsey Green committee are posted at Town Hall and can be found online by visiting the Corporation of Shepherdstown web page at www.shepherdstown.us.