While we would have preferred that a joint city-county committee recommend the original open space requirement for new residential developments adopted in 2003 by the Planning Commission 8 percent in the county, 4 percent in the city a compromise of 5 percent in both urban and rural areas is reasonable.
That compromise was adopted Monday by the joint committee, which is made up of magistrates and city commissioners and has studied the issue since the Planning Commission, under pressure from developers, cut the open space requirements by half in 2004.
Now the 5 percent requirement must be adopted by the City Commission and Fiscal Court, which temporarily lifted all open space requirements last fall in a pique of frustration at the slow pace of the committees work.
Most residential developers, of course, recognize that green space in new subdivisions makes homes more marketable as families in particular look for housing in areas that include space set aside for parks and outdoor recreation. That is particularly true as the cost of new housing continues to climb. A $200,000 house in a development with 5 percent of the land set aside as open space is more desirable than the same house in a subdivision with every available acre developed.
But there still are those who want no open space required or only the most minimal and that to include sidewalks and street medians. Those are not what anyone considers green space and only undercut the very concept of open space in heavily developed areas.
No one wants new development in Franklin County to come to a halt because of planning and zoning regulations, and it most certainly will not under a 5 percent open space requirement. On the contrary, with the issue resolved and the same requirement in both urban and rural developments, we expect planning for new subdivisions to move forward as demand for housing grows.
The entire City Commission and Fiscal Court should adopt the 5 percent standard and allow that growth to continue.