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The Clarence Planning Board is drafting new rules to help the town keep its rural character and upscale reputation while new homes are built.

The new rules would encourage development of large homes surrounded by green space and discourage building small homes close together.

They would apply when someone who owns a large tract of land wants to build up to four homes behind their current one. For example, children who want to live behind their parent's.

Because the backyard parcels are essentially landlocked, a regular subdivision cannot be built.

But the homes could be built under something called open area development.

The Planning Board submitted this plan to the Town Board in June 1996 but nothing ever happened. The Planning Board spent Wednesday night revising the rules and will eventually ask the Town Board once again to enact them.

"We need to get this defined and what guidelines we're going to use," said Planning Board Chairman Harold K. Frey. "What I look for is an upscale set of homes with a lot of open space." To keep the homes upscale, the minimum size for a one-story home is 1,500 feet. A two-story home has to be at least 2,000 square feet. And to ensure open space, each home must sit on at least two acres.

The goal is to prevent Clarence from being as developed as Amherst. Officials want the town to have lots of green space and houses set back from the road to keep its rural charm.

The Planning Board still needs to run its rules by the town attorney and double check on a few rules and regulations before it submits them to the Town Board

"We're making progress," Frey said.

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