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Aberdeen delays 75-acre annexation requests, waiting on study of future growth areas

A vote by the Aberdeen City Council on a request to annex two properties totaling about 75 acres into city limits was postponed again Monday.

The council is waiting on a land-use plan study and master plan for three properties west of Interstate 95 identified as the city’s future growth area.

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Patrick Small, of Matrix Design Group Inc., who the city hired to do the study, was expected to present the plan to the council at Monday’s meeting. Small was at the meeting, but told the council members the plan was not complete.

“The annexation resolutions, the way we have been discussing this to postpone action on this until we get back the Matrix Design group study. Is there any objection to continuing in that direction?” Mayor Patrick McGrady said when the resolutions came up for discussion.

“I think we ought to,” Councilwoman Sandra Landbeck said.

Bosworth Properties, Sage Custom Homes and Sage Gilbert LLC have a contract to buy the two parcels, the 37-acre Siebert farm owned by Helen Siebert Germeroth and the 38-acre Adams farm owned by Novo Realty.

Two concept plans have been developed, one for 49 single-family homes, 56 villas, 28 rental townhouses and 322 luxury apartments in seven buildings and other for 92 villas and 78 single-family homes.

Small said he would be back at the council’s Aug. 12 meeting with a plan to present.

The three planning areas include two properties outside of city limits and the Integrated Business District at the interchange of Route 22 and I-95.

“The purpose of the study is to determine what vision the community has for these future areas and the growth in those areas,” Small said. “What type of development, how do you manage it? You do it through a land use study.”

The infrastructure also has to be in place concurrent with the development, economic opportunities have to be available to provide quality jobs and services in conjunction with the growth in those areas, he said.

With the information that has been collected, an analysis of existing conditions, a market assessment and input from the public, a land-use plan and design guidelines are developed “in terms of how that development might look in the future,” he said.

Five public workshops were held to solicit thoughts on what the vision should be, issues and opportunities, land uses and transportation and housing.

Among the themes from the public was concern for the road network and the water and sewer system to handle additional growth, what types of housing should be available, bicycle and pedestrian connectivity, attracting quality business and creating a gateway to the city from the north.

“People who grow up in the community want to live in the community, retire in the community,” Small said. “To age in place, we need to provide different types of housing for that.”

Two sets of plans have been developed, each distinct from the other.

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In both, the most intense commercial development is focused around the Long Drive and Route 22 interchange.

One includes more development, based on changes in the future in terms of development of the nearby golf course and other areas.

Taken into consideration are the properties beyond the two growth areas, to make sure the agricultural and lower-density residential communities on the periphery have a relationship to the development happening.

“Both celebrate the Carsins Run environment, we’re not breaking away from the natural environment, they’re celebrating it,” Small said. “That’s certainly what we heard from input at the community meetings.”

Small also discussed ways to give the development appearances of being open — garages in the back in residential development and plaza-type areas between sidewalks and commercial buildings.

The cost to implement the improvements and amenities must be determined and the public infrastructure must be in place.

“We need to identify the actions needed and provide a schedule for executing the action steps,” Small said.

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