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Farmington readies conservation planning measures

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With several developers waiting for laws to come on the books, the City Council and city planner are scrambling to get ordinances in place to allow for conservation planning that will respect Farmington's rural atmosphere and wetlands areas.

After a recent public hearing on the general plan amendment, the Planning Commission unanimously passed a modified version of the original amendment, with more generic language to be tightened up with zoning ordinances.The new plan sets aside areas with seismic hazards, foothills, flood plains, groundwater, wetlands, and stream and trail corridors. Developers with land in sensitive areas may need to adjust their building proposals for the zones their lands cross once the council passes both the amendment and zoning ordinances to support it.

Liz Nielsen, a resident, has been canvassing all of 110 homeowners and 51 property owners in Farmington with a petition she said would be presented at a city council meeting.

She said that 99 percent of those owners were represented on her petition, with about 25 to 30 people left to contact.

"The density is our big concern," Nielsen said. "They just can't cram homes into a little space. We would rather that there were less open space than more homes," she said, referring to clustering plans that would put more homes on smaller pieces of land to preserve adjacent conservation areas.

Nielson called for a buffer of five acres near sensitive areas, and buffers for agricultural areas and animal areas.

More than anything, the people who spoke said they did not want to see homes in half-acre lots, or getting more homes on lots to make up for a loss of land in conservation areas.

Tonna Bounds, another resident, said she wanted the city to "stop, back up and take a deep breath" to analyze the situation and look at other development ideas besides clustering.

The general plan amendment will be discussed at the city council meeting on July 7.