La Plata Plan­ning Com­mis­sion re­vises, ap­proves town’s 2015 an­nual re­port

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum - By TIF­FANY WAT­SON Twit­ter: Tif­fIndyNews

The plan in­cludes a sum­mary of de­vel­op­ment trends con­tained in the pre­vi­ous four an­nual re­ports filed.

“The re­quired an­nual re­port, man­dated to do ev­ery six to ten years, shows a sense of are we on track with what the town’s vi­sion is and try­ing to ad­dress if the com­pre­hen­sive plan is work­ing,” said La Plata Di­rec­tor of Plan­ning Jeremy Hurl­butt.

Dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s meet­ing, the town staff and plan­ning com­mis­sion iden­ti­fied sig­nif­i­cant changes to ex­ist­ing pro­grams, zon­ing or­di­nances, reg­u­la­tions, fi­nanc­ing pro­grams, or state re­quire­ments nec­es­sary to help achieve the vi­sions and goals of the com­pre­hen­sive plan dur­ing the re­main­ing plan­ning time­frame.

“Most of the plan­ning com­mis­sion’s feed­back were ed­i­to­rial items, some ty­pos and mis­al­lo­cated per­mits in the wrong year which will be changed in the an­nual re­port,” Hurl­butt said.

The La Plata Plan­ning Com­mis­sion and plan­ning staff are work­ing on a com­pre­hen­sive zon­ing code up­date that will ad­dress a num­ber of goals in the town’s com­pre­hen­sive plan by in­clud­ing ad­di­tional de­vel­op­ment stan­dards, im­ple­ment­ing goals, and pro­vid­ing clear di­rec­tion for devel­op­ers. This in­cludes the cre­ation of a new mixe­duse zone, in­creased land­scape and open space re­quire­ments, side­walk re­quire­ments, and time lim­its on ap­provals.

“The five-year plan is a newer con­cept than in the past when we did re­port­ing be­cause we were un­der those num­ber of per­mits. We’ve never had to ad­dress the five-year plan to the state level and so we just wanted to make sure that since it’s the first time that we’ve had to do that, that we were com­fort­able with how we did it. We also want to make sure we’re con­sis­tent with what the town staff wants and what the plan­ning com­mis­sion wants,” Posey said.

Ac­cord­ing to the town staff, com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment has been limited and de­creased in the last five years. The Town of La Plata has seen an in­crease in the num­ber of ren­o­va­tions and new ten­ants into ex­ist­ing com­mer­cial build­ings as well as a steady in­crease in the amount of res­i­den­tial build­ing per­mits is­sued since 2011. Most of the res­i­den­tial build­ing per­mits is­sued have been for sin­gle-fam­ily at­tached dwellings fol­lowed by sin­gle-fam­ily de­tached dwellings.

“We need to change the trend anal­y­sis,” Hurl­butt said. “The an­nual re­port says in the last five years we had no multi-fam­ily [unit per­mits] un­til re­cently which we need to change to say we have only four multi-fam­ily units in the last five years.”

Other po­ten­tial up­dates to the town’s com­pre­hen­sive plan also in­clude forestry pri­or­ity re­ten­tion ar­eas, cre­at­ing a street tree master plan, iden­ti­fy­ing crit­i­cal ar­eas in­clud­ing prop­er­ties with non­con­form­ing uses in down­town and the Univer­sity of Mary­land Charles Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter prop­erty as well as ad­dress­ing how the town as­sesses ma­jor fa­cil­ity fees and school seat al­lo­ca­tions.

Hurl­butt said the plan­ning com­mis­sion ap­proved the 2015 An­nual Re­port, con­di­tion­ally based on the town staff mak­ing the changes and edits men­tioned dur­ing the meet­ing. Then the re­port will be sent to the Mary­land De­part­ment of Plan­ning.

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