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Columbus calls for 8-month moratorium on major subdivisions

After a long special meeting last night, Columbus Town Council decided to set a public hearing to hear comments on a proposed moratorium on major subdivisions for a period of eight months.

The public hearing will be held on May 19 at 5:30 p.m., tentatively at Columbus Town Hall.

Council said a moratorium would give the town time to develop new ordinances, including ordinances for sedimentation and erosion control, park and green space, adequate facilities regulations and sidewalk, curb and gutter regulations. In addition, the time could be used to revise the steep slope ordinance, the districts defined in the zoning ordinance and the density for major subdivisions.

The meeting Tuesday consisted mostly of public comments. About 70 people were in attendance, and a vast majority of those who spoke asked council to take a time out to place restrictions on development.

Some also said they want Columbus to de-annex Foster Creek Preserve, a proposed major subdivision that has not yet submitted a master plan to the town and would be subject to the moratorium if approved. Council recently agreed to sign an agreement with Foster Creek for the development to hold off on submitting its master plan to the town until July 5, but the town did not actually sign the agreement because of other stipulations the development placed in the agreement.

Columbus Town Manager Tim Holloman discussed some positive and negative factors regarding Foster Creek, which has approximately 1,050 acres with a proposed 776 homesites. Previously, Foster Creek was proposing 850 homesites, but representatives said Tuesday night that in trying to address the public&squo;s concerns they recently decreased the number of homesites planned for the project.

Holloman said Foster Creek&squo;s positive factors, including an increased tax base for Columbus, outweighed the negative factors.

Council voted unanimously to hold a public hearing on a moratorium.