Drafts address land-use in Garrett County

‘Clustering’ now included as an option

Megan Miller
Cumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — A second round of draft updates to Garrett County land ordinances makes more concessions for development and places fewer restrictions on land use, after public protests caused officials to rethink stricter regulations in a previous draft.

The long process of updating the planning and land development ordinances entered a new phase last week with the release of revised drafts for public review. The documents — drafts of the subdivision ordinance, sensitive areas ordinance and Deep Creek watershed zoning ordinance — contain a second round of changes, following the first changes and public comment period that took place in the fall.

The first versions spurred some public uproar over a provision that would affect the development of rural resource and agricultural resource land. That provision would have required at least 66 percent of subdivision land parcels in those areas to be set aside as “resource parcels,” or open land.

The provisions do not affect the entire county, but only areas specifically designated “agricultural resource” and “rural resource.” However, those two areas do span large portions of the county.

The resource parcel stipulation was intended to protect areas of forest, natural resources and farmland from development, according to its language. It would have prevented sprawling development by requiring the majority of a parcel to be set aside, and clustering development onto lots of no minimum size on one-third of the parcel.

“It’s trying to preserve a portion of the land to keep it as productive farmland or productive timberland,” said John Nelson, director of planning and land development. “That’s the real purpose of the clustering. What we’re saying is, create smaller lots but save a portion of the land. Maybe it would belong to a homeowners association, and they could lease it as a farm.”

But many farmers and other landowners spoke out against the measure, arguing that it directly or indirectly placed too many restrictions on how the land could be used.

Paul Miller, president of the Garrett County Farm Bureau board of directors, said his organization objected because they saw the clustering requirement as an infringement on private property rights, affecting the way landowners could sell their land. It could also have driven down property values by restricting potential land uses, he said.

Due to those and other public objections, the clustering requirement has been removed in the latest draft, Nelson said. Instead, the document includes clustering as an option, and contains incentives to attempt to encourage that type of development, he explained.

Miller said the latest draft of the ordinance has addressed his concerns.

“If it holds as it is, we’re satisfied,” he said.

A provision in the first draft of the updated Deep Creek watershed zoning ordinance also caused a stir because it would have put strict requirements on development on crests and ridge lines visible from the surface or shoreline of the lake. The proposed changes also would have required trees to be planted between structures and the lake to screen them from view.

“About four years ago we had held public meetings about people’s views on changes and development in the county,” Nelson said. “The development that is occurring on the ridge lines around the lake was the No. 1 response. People were worried about the development taking away from the natural scenic beauty of those ridges.”

But the strict requirements didn’t sit well with people specifically interested in those properties for the development potential and unobstructed lake views. In the latest draft, the provision has been changed to require only that trees be planted around the sides and rear of new structures to help them blend into the surrounding vegetation, Nelson explained. No trees are required for the front, or lake-facing side.

The county planning commission has been working on the ordinance updates since spring 2009, mainly because state law requires the ordinances to be adjusted to remain consistent with changes to the county comprehensive plan adopted in 2008, according to Nelson.

A public hearing on the latest versions of the ordinances will be held in coming weeks, though nothing has been scheduled yet.

Updated versions of the ordinance drafts and maps are available online on the county Web site at. www.garrettcounty.org

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

Recent Lot/Land Listings – Buyer Client Update

There were 9 new land/lot listings since January 1, 2010. Some larger parcels and several building lots. THere is also one commercial property that includes several different properties, projects and communities (click for .pdf and more photos/info)

GA7234728 1 TURKEY KNOB RD $44,900 Oakland 1.700ac R

GA7235151 YOUNG WOOD LN W $74,900 Grantsville 10.600ac R

GA7234225 TRAP RUN RD $99,000 Friendsville 19.780ac

GA7229995 GARNER DR $124,500 Deer Park 3.073 LR

GA7234494 681 BOY SCOUT RD $149,000 Oakland 50.020 LR

GA7229867 3 GRAND ESTATES DR $349,000 Mc Henry .573 R

GA7233401 65 WESTWARD WAY $369,000 Mc Henry .574 LR

GA7228856 14 PARKSIDE SOUTH CT $499,000 Mc Henry .520 LR

GA7232486 25297 GARRETT HWY $4,900,000 Mc Henry 36.840 C /

(source: MLS January 1, 2010 – January 12, 2010)

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

New Residential Listings – Update for Buyer Clients

There are 5 new residential listings in the Deep Creek Lake/Garrett County area that are now available for sale (click for .pdf):

GA7234937 673 NORTHLAKE VILLAGE $395,000 Mc Henry NORTHLAKE VILLAGE

GA7234193 498 GLEANINGS DR $449,000 Mc Henry THE GLEANINGS

GA7234198 475 PINNACLE DR $449,000 Swanton THE PINNACLE

GA7234716 15 MEADOW MOUTAIN RUN RD $699,900 Swanton MEADOW MOUNTAIN RUN

GA7234339 774 GLENDALE RD $799,000 Deer Park SAND STONES ON THE LAKE

(source: MLS Jan 9, 2010 – Jan 12, 2010)

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

Drafts address land-use in Garrett County

‘Clustering’ now included as an option

Megan Miller
Cumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — A second round of draft updates to Garrett County land ordinances makes more concessions for development and places fewer restrictions on land use, after public protests caused officials to rethink stricter regulations in a previous draft.

The long process of updating the planning and land development ordinances entered a new phase last week with the release of revised drafts for public review. The documents — drafts of the subdivision ordinance, sensitive areas ordinance and Deep Creek watershed zoning ordinance — contain a second round of changes, following the first changes and public comment period that took place in the fall.

The first versions spurred some public uproar over a provision that would affect the development of rural resource and agricultural resource land. That provision would have required at least 66 percent of subdivision land parcels in those areas to be set aside as “resource parcels,” or open land.

The provisions do not affect the entire county, but only areas specifically designated “agricultural resource” and “rural resource.” However, those two areas do span large portions of the county.

The resource parcel stipulation was intended to protect areas of forest, natural resources and farmland from development, according to its language. It would have prevented sprawling development by requiring the majority of a parcel to be set aside, and clustering development onto lots of no minimum size on one-third of the parcel.

“It’s trying to preserve a portion of the land to keep it as productive farmland or productive timberland,” said John Nelson, director of planning and land development. “That’s the real purpose of the clustering. What we’re saying is, create smaller lots but save a portion of the land. Maybe it would belong to a homeowners association, and they could lease it as a farm.”

But many farmers and other landowners spoke out against the measure, arguing that it directly or indirectly placed too many restrictions on how the land could be used.

Paul Miller, president of the Garrett County Farm Bureau board of directors, said his organization objected because they saw the clustering requirement as an infringement on private property rights, affecting the way landowners could sell their land. It could also have driven down property values by restricting potential land uses, he said.

Due to those and other public objections, the clustering requirement has been removed in the latest draft, Nelson said. Instead, the document includes clustering as an option, and contains incentives to attempt to encourage that type of development, he explained.

Miller said the latest draft of the ordinance has addressed his concerns.

“If it holds as it is, we’re satisfied,” he said.

A provision in the first draft of the updated Deep Creek watershed zoning ordinance also caused a stir because it would have put strict requirements on development on crests and ridge lines visible from the surface or shoreline of the lake. The proposed changes also would have required trees to be planted between structures and the lake to screen them from view.

“About four years ago we had held public meetings about people’s views on changes and development in the county,” Nelson said. “The development that is occurring on the ridge lines around the lake was the No. 1 response. People were worried about the development taking away from the natural scenic beauty of those ridges.”

But the strict requirements didn’t sit well with people specifically interested in those properties for the development potential and unobstructed lake views. In the latest draft, the provision has been changed to require only that trees be planted around the sides and rear of new structures to help them blend into the surrounding vegetation, Nelson explained. No trees are required for the front, or lake-facing side.

The county planning commission has been working on the ordinance updates since spring 2009, mainly because state law requires the ordinances to be adjusted to remain consistent with changes to the county comprehensive plan adopted in 2008, according to Nelson.

A public hearing on the latest versions of the ordinances will be held in coming weeks, though nothing has been scheduled yet.

Updated versions of the ordinance drafts and maps are available online on the county Web site at. www.garrettcounty.org

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

Ice fishing on Deep Creek Lake – 1-11-10


I noticed these folks fishing outside my office window today in McHenry Cove. From what I understand, the lake is definitely safe for ice-fishing now after almost 3 weeks of sub freezing temperatures. You can see the community of Ski Harbor in the background, and the approximate location of where the ice starts and land stops.
I have a 2 bedroom condo available for sale at Ski Harbor, a lakefront townhouse community with an indoor swimming pool, tennis courts and beach volleyball court. You can find some more info about the community here.

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

In between winter storms at Deep Creek Lake

I had some running around to do today at the lake, and took a photos of the frozen views from Sunset Ridge community. You can tell from one of these photos that the slight difference in elevation of the ridges makes a huge difference in terms of ice accumulation. Incidentally, here are some real estate listings that are currently available in the Sunset Ridge community.

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

Press release: Pending changes to the Deep Creek Lake zoning ordinance

Some of the pending changes that highlight the press release:

-Changes to the subdivision laws allowing clustered vs non clustered development.
-Traffic Impact Analysis, road design standards, etc
-Allowing for drilling of natural gas in all zones subject to setbacks
-Sensitive Area Ordinance, development on steep slopes

Feel free to take a look, there will be a public hearing scheduled in the near future.

Here is a link to the .pdf file

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

Ice fishing on Deep Creek Lake – 1-11-10


I noticed these folks fishing outside my office window today in McHenry Cove. From what I understand, the lake is definitely safe for ice-fishing now after almost 3 weeks of sub freezing temperatures. You can see the community of Ski Harbor in the background, and the approximate location of where the ice starts and land stops.
I have a 2 bedroom condo available for sale at Ski Harbor, a lakefront townhouse community with an indoor swimming pool, tennis courts and beach volleyball court. You can find some more info about the community here.

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

In between winter storms at Deep Creek Lake

I had some running around to do today at the lake, and took a photos of the frozen views from Sunset Ridge community. You can tell from one of these photos that the slight difference in elevation of the ridges makes a huge difference in terms of ice accumulation. Incidentally, here are some real estate listings that are currently available in the Sunset Ridge community.

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

Press release: Pending changes to the Deep Creek Lake zoning ordinance

Some of the pending changes that highlight the press release:

-Changes to the subdivision laws allowing clustered vs non clustered development.
-Traffic Impact Analysis, road design standards, etc
-Allowing for drilling of natural gas in all zones subject to setbacks
-Sensitive Area Ordinance, development on steep slopes

Feel free to take a look, there will be a public hearing scheduled in the near future.

Here is a link to the .pdf file

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350