Berlin Plans Community Meetings; Input Sought For Comp Plan Revisions

BERLIN – The town has scheduled a series of community meetings in March as it moves to address resiliency in its comprehensive plan.

The town has partnered with the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center to host meetings March 14, 16 and 18 as it begins to develop a resiliency element for its comprehensive plan. Topics to be discussed by residents include climate change, funding for the town’s future and growth.

“I think a lot of folks will be concerned about flooding,” Town Administrator Laura Allen said. “We’re also going to talk about growth and financial sustainability.”

The Town of Berlin received a $20,000 climate resilience grant last fall from Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources to aid in development of a resiliency element for its comprehensive plan. Allen said that as communities faced extreme weather events, stress on public facilities and higher costs of services, there was a growing need to plan for those events.

“It’s unusual for a community of this size to have a resiliency element but more and more communities in Maryland are moving in that direction,” she said.

The University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center, which previously worked with the Town of Berlin as it was developing its stormwater utility, will lead the meetings and compile relevant data to create a draft document for the town. Allen said the center would look at the town’s budget, audit, GIS data and any other relevant documentation.

“They’ve done similar work in four other communities…,” Allen said. “The information from the meetings will be gathered along with other data and put into this resiliency element.”

The center will eventually provide the town with a draft of the proposed addition to the comprehensive plan. That would then go to the town’s planning commission for review.

Allen said this latest piece to the comprehensive plan comes as the town as is preparing to do an overall review and update of the document. It also addresses the town’s environmental concerns.

“It’s consistent with the town’s environmental ethic and the work we’re doing,” she said. “It also fits our need to update the comprehensive plan.”

Locations for the three March meetings are still being finalized.

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.