In­dian Head coun­cil makes zon­ing or­di­nance rec­om­men­da­tions

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

The In­dian Head Plan­ning Com­mis- sion is in the process of re­view­ing the town’s zon­ing or­di­nance and are seek­ing rec­om­men­da­tions from the town coun- cil. Ac­cord­ing to Mayor Bran­don Paulin, the coun­cil agreed to dis­cuss the list of rec­om­men­da­tions at Jan­uar y’s work ses- sion be­fore mov­ing it for­ward to the plan- ning com­mis­sion.

“Based on the [zon­ing or­di­nance] draft that we have, my rec­om­men­da­tions would be — al­low­ing food trucks with proper per­mit­ting and change Ely Prop- erty [and sim­i­lar va­cant prop­er­ties in the town] zon­ing to TCMX (Town Cen­ter Mixed Use) that is based off of the [Ur- ban Land In­sti­tute] Study rec­om­men­da­tion,” Paulin said.

In the ex­ist­ing zon­ing for res­i­den­tial, com­mer­cial, mixed use and re­cre­ation uses, TCMX is in­tended to pro­mote a mix­ture of multi-fam­ily res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial uses, to pro­mote and en- hance a pedes­trian-ori­ented de­velop- ment and per­mit a mix of uses that can be found in a tra­di­tional town cen­ter or neigh­bor­hood set­ting.

Paulin also rec­om­mended that the plan­ning com­mis­sion in­clude lan­guage in the town’s zon­ing or­di­nance about food trucks since it is now in the Charles County zon­ing code as of 2016. Vice Mayor Ron Si­toula agreed. “In re­gards to the TCMX zon­ing sug­ges­tion from the ULI Study, I just don’t want the prop­erty own­ers to say that they won’t sell this prop­erty un­til it be­comes TCMX — with a bunch of hous­ing only. Even­tu­ally we will need that TCMX zon- ing. There is no way around that down the road, but we just don’t want the town to be held hostage by the [prop­erty] own­ers,” Si­toula said.

Coun­cil­man Cur­tis Smith said dur­ing the land de­vel­op­ment ap­proval process the plan­ning com­mis­sion would have to be very strict with prop­erty own­ers and de­vel­op­ers ad­her­ing to TCMX zon­ing stan­dards.

“There have been a few TCMX projects in the town that have been to­tal res­i­den­tial projects and not truly TCMX zoned. If [the plan­ning com­mis­sion] holds firm and makes TCMX what is de­signed to be, then we’re cov­er­ing what [Si­toula’s] fear is,” said Town Man­ager Ryan Hicks.

Si­toula said the plan­ning com­mis­sion have also not de­fined what the TCMX stan­dards should be, which is the only thing hold­ing him back from agree­ing with the TCMX zon­ing or­di­nance rec­om­men­da­tion for prop­er­ties within the town.

“Many [de­vel­op­ers and prop­erty own­ers] sug­gested build­ing 70-100 units, and then only used 2 per­cent of the prop­erty for busi­ness. We want to be able to say 40-60 per­cent should be for [com­mer­cial]. Let’s come up with a plan and def­i­ni­tion and strictly hold them ac­count­able for that,” Si­toula said.

The coun­cil agreed, also dis­cussing the pos­si­bil­ity of creat­ing a cit­i­zen sur­vey for the res­i­dents. The idea stemmed from the Town of La Plata cit­i­zen sur­vey pro­vided by the Na­tional Cit­i­zen Sur­vey. The sur­vey pro­vided the opin­ions of ap­prox­i­mately 369 La Plata res­i­dents and con­veyed which top­ics are the most im­por­tant fo­cus ar­eas for the com­mu­nity.

“The mayor of La Plata [Roy G. Hale] re­cently dis­cussed the cit­i­zen sur­vey that they have been do­ing ev­ery two years,” Si­toula said. “I think it’s an ex­cel­lent idea to make sure that ev­ery two years we check to see how things are to the [In­dian Head] res­i­dents. There are a fixed amount of seven to eight ques­tions in the free sur­vey, but it may not be a bad idea to let the pub­lic have that sur­vey. It is some­thing that we can pur­sue as a town.”

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