Special meeting on Forest Creek Preserve development tonight

Published 2:04 pm Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Pressure from citizens has apparently led Columbus Town Council to reconsider its decisions on&bsp; Foster Creek Preserve, a proposed development&bsp; on nearly 1,000 acres near the intersection of Houston Road and Hwy. 108.

The town council called a special meeting tonight at 5:30 p.m. in the Womack Building to consider the &dquo;future of Foster Creek subdivision (zoning & other aspects).&dquo;

At the developer&squo;s request, the town previously annexed the land proposed for the development. A large tract of more than 900 acres was annexed last year, while a small adjacent piece was annexed last month. The town agreed in 2006 to provide water service to the development.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Recently, the local group Save Our Slopes and other citizens have urged the town to adopt a moratorium on new subdivisions so the town has time to put in place stricter land use regulations that would impact the design of Foster Creek Preserve.

On at least two occasions town council declined to adopt a moratorium. The town and developers instead reached an agreement requiring the developer to wait until July to submit its development plan. In exchange, the town agreed it will not change the zoning that applies to Foster Creek. After annexing the land, the town applied its R2 zoning, which requires two acre minimum lots but allows cluster development. The town also has steep slope regulations in place requiring larger lot sizes on steeper slopes.

Foster Creek Preserve has been designated a planned unit development, meaning its approval process will require mutiple reviews by town officials. Foster Creek has said it&squo;s willing to work with the town to achieve a design that meets its needs while also preserving the land as much as possible. Foster Creek previously proposed about 800 units in a cluster development that would preserve some of the acreage, particularly on steeper slopes.

Some citizens have suggested the town should greatly limit the number of planned units, or even &dquo;de-annex&dquo; the proposed subdivision. If the property was de-annexed, the development would require the approval of the county, which now has a 7-acre minimum lot size in place.

Town council plans to take public comments at the start of tonight&squo;s meeting, and then discuss the plans for the subdivision. According to the agenda, council then plans to enter a closed session to discuss legal aspects of the issue.