WHERE DID OUR LOT SIZE ZONING COME FROM?

What many people may not realize is that our lot size zoning standards have been developed based upon current geological science. While the visible benefits of our minimum lot size zoning scheme is preservation of Franklin Township’s rural character and culture as well as protection of our scenic landscapes, and woodlands, the actual scientific calculation of the zone sizes  serve the very important role in protecting the quality of our water supply.

Everyone in Franklin Township depends upon on-site wells for water and septic systems for sewage disposal. Septic systems are one of the leading sources of nitrates which have been attributed to several adverse health impacts. When a water supply well draws from the same groundwater as a contiguous septic system, the drinking water can be at risk for unsafe nitrate concentrations. Even a properly functioning septic system can contribute a significant nitrate load to groundwater.

The way to limit nitrate load to groundwater and protect drinking water from on-site septic effluent is dilution. Larger lot sizes ensure that there is a sufficient amount of rainwater to offset septic effluent and dilute nitrates before they are released to the water supply. Lot size requirements are designed to ensure adherence to the standards set by the State for safe levels of nitrate dilution and evolved in Franklin Township over time as more stringent standards have been imposed.

Our lot size zoning regulations require minimum lot sizes of five acres in the northern end of the town and minimum lot sizes of seven acres at the southern end of the town. This scheme is driven by the nature of our soils and bedrock geology which impacts dilution. High water tables adversely impact septic suitability and are of particular concern at the southern end of our town. Since we do not have a feasible alternative to on-site septic systems, our adherence to septic system maintenance and suitable minimal lot size is vital to ensuring that we continue to have access to a safe drinking water supply.

 

 

 

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