In­dian Head plan­ners be­gin re­vis­ing comp plan

Mem­bers make men­tion of Wa­ter­shed Conser va­tion District

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

The In­dian Head Plan­ning Com­mis­sion met Jan. 18 to dis­cuss the first three sec­tions of the town’s Com­pre­hen­sive Plan: in­tro­duc­tion, land use and en­vi­ron­men­tal.

Lu­cinda Stevens, a zon­ing and en­gi­neer­ing con­sul­tant who is as­sist- ing In­dian Head Zon­ing Ad­min­is­tra­tor Richard Parks, par­tic­i­pated in the dis­cus­sion at the Vil­lage Green Pav­il­ion in or­der to clar­ify the ques­tions and com­ments pre­vi­ously made by the plan­ning com­mis­sion mem­bers through email.

“I think we should be con­sis­tent through­out the plan. The ‘Pur­pose of the Plan’ sub­sec­tion in the in­tro­duc­tion should say the ‘Town of In­dian Head’ and then shorten it there­after so that it can be con­sis­tent through­out the doc­u­ment,” said plan­ning com­mis­sion mem­ber Thomas Blake.

Plan­ning com­mis­sion mem­ber Mary Arm- strong agreed, shar­ing her own com­ments about a sub­sec­tion of the com- pre­hen­sive plan which re­flects the town’s his­tory.

“This is not the his­tory of the town in my opin­ion. It’s not even the cor­rect his­tory of the base. It’s not about how the town was ac­tu­ally formed. We need to get some proper his­tory and re­write this whole sec­tion. This plan should be picked up by some­one who doesn’t know what’s go­ing on and lives here and wants to know the his­tory of the town. In­stead it tells us how the base grew and how we’re de­pen­dent on it,” Arm­strong said.

“I would like for oth­ers to hear about our town — its first set­tlers and those who helped it grow. We do want the base here but we want to show that we can sur vive along­side the base — on our own,” Blake said.

The same sub­sec­tion also cur­rently states that “the net­work of streets and parks in the Vil­lage Green in­di­cates where mil­i­tary hous­ing once stood.” How­ever, plan­ning com­mis­sion mem- ber War­ren Bowie said the hous­ing was ac­tu­ally built for civil­ians.

“In re­gards to the town’s his­tory, the part that is in bold is the way it was orig­i­nally writ­ten in the plan. If it needs to be im­proved, now is the time to do it. So maybe the plan­ning com­mis­sion can take some time to re­search it,” Stevens said.

Blake said he would take on the task of re­search­ing the his­tory of the town, in or­der for the sub­sec­tion to be more re­flec­tive of the town in the com­pre­hen­sive plan.

The com­mis­sion mem­bers also dis­cussed the de­mo­graph­ics sec­tion. Stevens said the plan states that the largest in­crease in pop­u­la­tion is be­tween ages 45-54. How­ever, many of the mem­bers felt like the spec­i­fied de­mo­graph­ics are try­ing to pro­mote a mis­sion for the se­niors only be­cause there is no rep­re­sen­ta­tion for the other age groups.

“I agree with the com­ment to not spec­ify one par­tic­u­lar age group at the ex­pense of all the oth­ers,” said Michael Pel­le­grino, chair­man of In­dian Head Plan­ning Com­mis­sion.

Plan­ning com­mis­sion mem­ber War­ren Bowie ad­dressed the Wa­ter­shed Con­ser­va­tion District be­ing men­tioned in the com­pre­hen­sive plan. The new district’s zon­ing af­fects the western part of Charles County, in­clud­ing the Town of In­dian Head.

“Since the public hear- ing, the [Charles County] com­mis­sion­ers have passed it but have gone back to the plan­ning com­mis­sion for their ap­proval and there’s quite an up­roar in the county about down­zon­ing about 35,000 acres. The down­zon­ing means there wouldn’t be any com- mer­cial devel­op­ment in this area. I don’t like the idea that the ver­biage in this com­pre­hen­sive plan gives the im­pres­sion that it’s a good thing for the town,” Bowie said. Pel­le­grino agreed. “I agree that we don’t need to have too much com­men­tar y about it. We just need to re­flect that it has hap­pened. Why shouldn’t we men­tion the fact that there is some­thing hap­pen­ing in the county ad­ja­cent to the town, that might have an im­pact on the town,” Pel­le­grino said.

Arm­strong and Blake sug­gested mov­ing the Wa­ter­shed Con­ser­va­tion District in­for­ma­tion to the “re­gional set­tings” sub­sec­tion of the com­pre­hen­sive plan, with other rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion.

The plan­ning com­mis­sion mem­bers agreed to add the com­pleted Ur- ban Land In­sti­tute (ULI) tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance panel find­ings into the re­vised com­pre­hen­sive plan, along with rec­om­menda- tions from the JLUS (Joint Land Use Study) and ex- panded land use de­scrip­tions in the Land Use sec­tion — in or­der for the plan to be con­sis­tent with the zon­ing or­di­nance.

Pel­le­grino also sug- gested that the plan­ning com­mis­sion in­clude a small sub­sec­tion into the en­vi­ron­men­tal sec­tion of the plan called “sus­tain­abil­ity re­siliency,” as the town be­came a sus­tain­able com­mu­nity in 2016. He pre­sented a draft of the sub­sec­tion to the other plan­ning com­mis­sion mem­bers.

The sub­sec­tion de­scribes in de­tail the Mary­land Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources BioNet (Bio­di­ver­sity Con­ser­va­tion Net­work) in­fra­struc­ture, tar­geted eco­log­i­cal ar­eas and pro­tected lands. Af­ter care­ful re­view the com­mis­sion mem­bers agreed that with some mi­nor ed­its, the sub­sec­tion should be added into the en­vi­ron­men­tal sec­tion.

By the end of the meet­ing, the plan­ning com­mis­sion mem­bers also set a date for the CIRI Prop­erty public hear­ing which will take place on Feb. 15. There will be a sign-up sheet at the hear­ing for po­ten­tial speak­ers. For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact town hall at 301-743-5511.

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