Indian Head planners begin revising comp plan
Members make mention of Watershed Conser vation District
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.