Route 346 Corridor Plan Moves Ahead

SNOW HILL – A meeting between two local planning bodies last week showed that Worcester County planners are on board with the Berlin Planning Commission’s attempt to create a Route 346 corridor plan.

Berlin Planning Commission Chair Pete Cosby, Vice Chair Dave Rovansek and town Planning and Zoning Superintendent Stacey Weisner met with the Worcester County Planning Commission and got its support for a formal plan after spending months trying to use the draft plan in discussions with developers, with some success

“This is certainly the kind of thing we’re looking for so we can all plan together,” said Worcester County Planning Commission Chair Carolyn Cummins.

Route 346, also known as Old Ocean City Blvd., poses a conundrum for planners as it has properties within town limits and properties in the county. This strange state of affairs arose after Berlin annexed the Stephen Decatur High School area, including all properties along Route 346. Some property owners sued to be left out of the annexation, resulting in an uneven town boundary,

“It’s such a hodgepodge in there,” said Weisner.

Berlin anticipates at least five projects on the road right now, and planners see more in the future.

“We’re seeing two or three plans a month,” said Rovansek.

Uniform setbacks, sidewalks, architectural standards, architectural standards, and shared stormwater management, Berlin’s planning commission believes, would go a long way toward dressing up the road, which has become the town’s main entrance.

“This corridor is one of the most unsightly corridors in the north end of the county,” said Cosby.

Worcester County Comprehensive Planning Director Sandy Coyman, a Berlin resident and former member of the town’s planning commission, said the town should use the county’s two existing corridor plans for Routes 113 and 50 as templates.

“They can use it as a basis,” Coyman said. “They can add to it or delete from it as they see fit.”

Brooks Clayville, member of the Worcester County Planning Commission, said everything along the road should be annexed into the town.

Berlin should decide what it wants, Cummins said, and then the two planning commissions would take the plan before the County Commissioners for approval.

Despite the plan’s unofficial status right now, some developers have taken it to heart. The developers of a medical office building toward the eastern end of Route 346 told the Berlin Planning Commission this week that they would put in a sidewalk on the property, and take local design elements into account, as called for by the draft plan.