Town Council Overrides Planning Commission (By FAR)

Cape Charles Wave

October 23, 2013

Two years’ work by the Cape Charles Planning Commission fell victim to an email from an absentee councilman at last Thursday’s Town Council meeting.

The Planning Commission, composed of seven volunteers, had been studying floor area ratios for the Town’s Harbor District.  The higher the floor area ratio (or FAR), the denser the development allowed by right.

The Planning Commission worked “about two years” on a FAR recommendation to Council, according to Joan Natali, who sits on both Town Council and the Planning Commission.

The Planning Commission recommendation was presented to Council at its September meeting, where Town Planner Rob Testerman explained that a FAR requirement would “prevent any hugely dense, out-of-character development” in the Harbor District. The recommendation was tabled for further thought when two councilmen disagreed: Frank Wendell argued that the FAR should be lower (less density), while Steve Bennett believed it should be higher. [Read more…]