According to the Citizens for a Better Eastern Shore, the public has been shut out of the Comprehensive Plan Development process by the County Planning Commission. CBES claim that the proposed changes, all being made without citizen input, are putting neighborhoods, homes, wetlands and coastal environments at risk:
-Town Edge District ELIMINATED The current district contains criteria for residential density and neighborhood-oriented commercial development—a 2015 county/towns meeting confirmed all towns supported the Town Edge District as written
-Potential Development Areas [PDAs] now proposed around the towns—no residential density limit is stated, and “large-scale commercial/industrial development” would be permitted
24 Hamlets become Villages: Meaning? Residential density will double, and commercial, industrial and institutional uses will be permitted in what are now small, mostly single-family residential Hamlets (Wardtown, Weirwood, Cherrystone Landing, Franktown, Sylvan Scene, etc)
-Public Sewer Expansion County citizens have not been supportive, yet the Northern and Southern sewer projects are back in play with the Public Service Authority [PSA] being charged with identifying areas for expansion.
-ELIMINATED Oyster and Willis Wharf Village Visions. Both communities’ plans for their collective futures have been removed.
-ELIMINATED County’s Sensitive Natural Resource Areas Report & Recommendations
-Hundreds of new building lots possible, with county population projected to decrease
-Affordable Housing: Code required strategies to provide are ignored
-These are only a portion of changes to the current Comprehensive Plan.
Planning Commission’s Timeline:
September 25—Deadline for all written public comment to the Planning Commission
Planning Commission finalizes Plan Draft
Planning Commission holds Public Hearing
Planning Commission recommends Final Draft to the Board of Supervisors
The Board has 90 days to hold a Public Hearing, and either adopt, amend or disapprove the Plan and return it to the Planning Commission with a written reason
The Planning Commission then has 60 days to reconsider the Plan and resubmit it to the Board
A detailed article on the Comprehensive Plan draft and process will appear in the CBES October ShoreLine.