Timetable Set For Citizen Review Of County Rezoning

SNOW HILL – Worcester County citizens must wait until the comprehensive rezoning is completed before airing their views on the draft commercial building design guidelines, county elected officials decided last week.

The County Commissioners had previously talked of setting a public hearing on the commercial design standards for November.

The design guidelines are closely tied to the comprehensive rezoning, Development Review and Permitting director Ed Tudor told the commissioners at their regular meeting last week.

Many of the issues that would be raised at a public hearing over the commercial design guidelines would be answered once the rezoning is made public, Tudor said. People might have reservations over the commercial design guidelines that would be dispelled by the draft comprehensive rezoning.

Tudor suggested reviewing the draft commercial design standards and the comprehensive rezoning at one time.

“It’s a package deal,” said Worcester County attorney Sonny Bloxom.

The commercial design guidelines would govern a variety of subjects covered by the 2006 Worcester County Comprehensive plan, ranging from architecture to landscaping to compatibility with neighborhood design. The guidelines include both mandatory and suggested standards.

A thorough review by the Planning Commission made no major modifications, said Tudor, just clarifications and improvements to the illustrations.

The modified guidelines will be posted on the Worcester County website, replacing the original draft, for public review.

The new draft of the zoning and subdivision control article, the official designation of the rezoning efforts, will be considered in early 2009 along with the draft commercial design guidelines and standards.

The entire set of code changes and additions must be approved before the county budget process begins in late winter, the county commissioners have said.

The new Worcester County Comprehensive Plan was approved in March 2006. The rezoning, a major part of implementing the plan, would then have been completed roughly three years after the new plan was approved.

Tudor said Tuesday that he is working on the final elements of the draft rezoning and subdivision article.

“The process is moving along,” he said.