vanessa-newVanessa Remmers covers Stafford County government and schools for and The Free Lance-Star.

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Two cluster plan projects ask board to connect to public utilities

Developers for two cluster plan projects are asking the Stafford County Board of Supervisors to let them connect to public water and sewer.

To do that though, both need to pass a compliance review against the Comprehensive Plan, according to county staff. The two items are on Tuesday’s board agenda.

You may be familiar with Jumping Branch LLC already. The proposed 105-lot plan, north of Truslow Road and west of Berea Church Road, would be clustered on the 317-acre tract of land. Half would be considered open space. Recently, the Planning Commission denied the request to connect to public utilities, citing non-compliance with the Comp Plan.

Attorney Clark Leming submitted an appeal to the board. Current county ordinance mandates that the project use public water, since a connection is less than 300 feet from the property’s border, as part of the Urban Services Area. The appeal is just for connecting to public sewer, which would enable the project to be clustered, rather than by-right.

Leming wrote in a letter that approval would keep the project more in line with the county’s ultimate plan for keeping land free of development. “Open space — free of roads, power lines, and utility poles — does more to preserve the rural character of an area than dispersing the same number of lots over the entire property such that the entire property has roads, power lines, and utility poles,” Leming wrote.

The second project is also represented by Leming. The Clift Farm Quarter cluster plan calls for 196 lots at U.S. 1/State Shop Road. Planning staff said a compliance review would also be needed for this project in order to connect to sewer. A 2005 review allowed for connection to utilities, but the preliminary subdivision plan has changed substantially since that time, according to county documents. The cluster plan would have lots of 1-acre each, while saving half of the 472-acre tract for open space.