In­dian Head Plan­ning Com­mis­sion dis­cusses com­pre­hen­sive plan re­view process for 2017

Maryland Independent - - News - By TIF­FANY WATSON twat­son@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @Tif­fIndyNews

The In­dian Head Plan­ning Com­mis­sion has been work­ing to­ward com­plet­ing the re­view of the town’s com­pre­hen­sive plan, which will help bring the town code up to date. Ac­cord­ing to Michael Pel­le­grino, chair- man of the Town of In­dian Head Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, the com­pre­hen­sive plan is sup­posed to guide the town for the next 10 years in as­pects such as land use, growth and eco­nomic pol­icy.

Dur­ing the plan­ning com­mis­sion meet­ing Nov. 30, mem­bers dis­cussed the re­vi­sions made to the draft of the town’s com- pre­hen­sive plan. Lucinda Stevens, a zon­ing and engi­neer­ing con­sul­tant who is as­sist­ing In­dian Head Zon­ing Ad­min­is­tra­tor Richard Parks, pre­sented the newly-made re­vi­sions to plan­ning com­mis­sion mem­bers and pro­vided them with hand­outs to take home to fur­ther read and un­der­stand the doc­u­ment.

“It’s pretty ex­ten­sive,” Stevens said. “There are cer­tain texts and items in gold, that are re­vi­sions from the 2009 ver­sion, to see what has now been changed. Ap­pen­dix B is all of the com­ments that were re­ceived to date. It in­cludes emailed com- ments from [com­mis­sion mem­bers], com­ments from the county, sev­eral let­ters from the [Mary- land Depart­ment of Plan- ning] and the De­part- ment of Trans­porta­tion.”

Stevens said the most sig­nif­i­cant re­vi­sion in the comp plan draft is that the Mary­land Depart­ment of Plan­ning felt the pop­ula- tion that parks used was a lit­tle over­stated, so the pop­u­la­tion pro­jec­tions were higher than they felt it should be.

“My un­der­stand­ing is that he has re­duced them to be con­sis­tent with what they felt is more ac­cu­rate,” Stevens said.

Pel­le­grino said the fi­nal draft of the comp plan needs to be con­sis­tent with the county’s. The Charles County Com­mis- sion­ers com­pleted their com­pre­hen­sive plan earli- er this year.

“There are a num­ber of com­ments in re­gards to the comp plan,” Pel­le­gri- no said. “The town has re­cently un­der­taken a lot of plan­ning ef­forts — an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment plan, the [Ur­ban Land In­sti­tute of Wash­ing­ton Tech­ni­cal As­sis­tance Pan- el study], and the [Indi- an Head Joint Land Use Study], all mak­ing land use rec­om­men­da­tions that per­tain to the growth of the town. The fu­ture of the town is be­ing mapped out by all of th­ese dif­fer- ent doc­u­ments be­cause it is the prin­ci­ple guid­ing doc­u­ment of the town.”

Stevens and Town Clerk An­drea Brady said the plan­ning com­mis­sion mem­bers should take time to con­sider all of the rec­om­men­da­tions and re­vi­sions, from the state and county, and then write their ad­di­tional com­ments.

“It is a lot to take in,” Brady said.

The plan­ning com­mis­sion mem­bers agreed.

Plan­ning com­mis­sion mem­ber Thomas Blake said he was pleased that sup­port­ing doc­u­men­ta­tion was pro­vided in the draft, to help show clar­i­fi­ca­tion of the re­cent changes and rec­om­men­da­tions.

“If there is a [com­ment] that some­one could have sub­mit­ted that was friv­o­lous or valid, I don’t need to see that,” Blake said. “We have to trust our zon­ing ad­min­is­tra­tor in his func­tion. Hav­ing seen him work and hav­ing Lucinda on board I think we can rest with know­ing that.”

How­ever, Mary Arm­strong, a mem­ber of the plan­ning com­mis­sion, said the more eyes read­ing it, the bet­ter the out- come. She said re­view­ing the com­pre­hen­sive plan is a big process and there is no need to rush it. Pel­le­grino agreed. “It’s not some­thing that will hap­pen by next month,” Pel­le­grino said. “The ULI Wash­ing­ton study, we don’t know what those sug­ges­tions are yet and those im­plica- tions can be in­cluded into the com­pre­hen­sive plan.”

Town Man­ager Ryan Hicks said the town ex- pects to have the ULI Wash­ing­ton TAP study by the end of De­cem­ber. The study was com­pleted by ULI Wash­ing­ton in Septem­ber and pre­sented to the town at the Vil­lage Green Pav­il­ion.

TAPs are vol­un­teer groups of ex­pe­ri­enced in­di­vid­u­als who have been as­sem­bled by ULI Wash­ing­ton for their rel­e­vant ex­per­tise and typ­i­cally in­clude plan­ners, ar­chi­tects, real es­tate de­vel­op­ers, traf­fic en­gi­neers, ur­ban econ­o­mists and other pro­fes­sion­als. Ac­cord­ing to ULI Wash­ing­ton, a TAP pro­vides lead­er­ship in the re­spon­si­ble use of land and creat­ing sus­tain­able com­mu­ni­ties world­wide.

The plan­ning com­mis- sion de­cided to set a time pe­riod to re­view the new draft and present addi- tional com­ments. Blake sug­gested that as there are 13 rec­om­men­da­tions in the comp plan, the mem­bers should split them up, as op­posed to tack­ling the whole doc­u­ment at once.

They plan to be­gin by re­view­ing and creat­ing com­ments for the first three sec­tions in Jan­uary and then have all sec­tions fin­ished by April.

“Once the com­pre­hen­sive plan is up­dated and it’s co­he­sive wth the zon- ing or­di­nance, then both can be adopted,” Brady said. “Then the town code will be up­dated. So the town code is on hold of be­ing up­dated un­til the zon­ing or­di­nance is adopted. The zon­ing or­di­nance is on hold un­til the comp plan is done. There is just a line of things that are in the process.”

The plan­ning com­mis­sion will not meet in De­cem­ber. Their next meet­ing is sched­uled for Jan. 18. How­ever com­ments about the first three sec­tions of the comp plan — in­tro­duc­tion, land use el­e­ment and en­vi­ron­men­tal el­e­ment — will be due prior to the meet­ing, on Jan. 11.

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