County Schedules Sectional Rezoning Hearing Next Month

SNOW HILL – Though officials do not support a sectional rezoning along Route 589, citizens will still have a chance to comment on the issue at a public hearing next month.

At a meeting last week, the Worcester County Commissioners set a public hearing date of Dec. 18 for a proposed sectional rezoning of several E-1 estate zoned properties along Route 589. The Worcester County Planning Commission does not recommend a sectional rezoning but because the concept was under consideration, members of the public will have the opportunity to weigh in.

In March, the planning commission began considering the idea of a sectional rezoning when attorney Mark Cropper presented rezoning requests from five Route 589 property owners. They wanted to see their properties, which all have E-1 zoning, reclassified as commercial.

The Worcester County Commissioners gave the planning commission approval to explore a sectional rezoning of roughly 15 properties in the area, some of which are zoned agricultural and some of which are zoned estate, in April. In his report to the commissioners this month, Tudor said that the commission, which studied the issue over the summer, found the area to be a long-established residential neighborhood. While there are some commercial uses in the vicinity, most of those are allowed by special exception.

“These existing uses are not ones that would require a commercial classification,” he wrote. “However, giving the area commercial zoning classification would make the residences in the area non-conforming uses and thus create significant difficulties that must be surmounted for any expansion or replacement of such homes.”

The planning commission also determined that the roads serving the properties in question weren’t adequate to handle an increase in commercial traffic. Public water and sewer is also not available in the area.

“The planning commission concludes that there is a significant amount of commercial zoning in the vicinity at present…,” Tudor wrote.

The commission decided that there was no need for additional commercial zoning in the area because it was in close proximity to the area of Route 50 with “the most intense commercial zoning in the county.”

Tudor said the commission believed any potential rezoning of the area should wait until the county’s next comprehensive plan review is completed. That is set to take place in 2021.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.