BERLIN – Town officials are expected to review a new component of Berlin’s comprehensive plan in the coming weeks.
Town staff members plan to present the Berlin Town Council with the recently drafted resilience element in March. The addition to the town’s comprehensive plan was put together by the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center after public input sessions last year.
“We’d be adding an appendix to the existing comprehensive plan,” Town Administrator Jeff Fleetwood said.
In January of 2019, the town hosted several community meetings to gather public input to be incorporated into the resilience element, which was to be created by the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center. Center staff spent the ensuing months drafting the plan, which was paid for by federal funds (from NOAA and the U.S. Department of Commerce) though the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
According to town staff, who have been reviewing the resilience element since it was received in late December, the addition to the comprehensive plan focuses on mitigating, adapting to and managing potential climate impacts. Though there are no direct costs associated with the new element to the comprehensive plan, it maintains that resiliency should be incorporated into the overall fiscal philosophies of the town.
“The maintenance and sustainability of town infrastructure and buildings requires that attention be paid to projected climate driven negative impacts that may threaten them,” a staff report reads. “Future development and capital improvements will have to be designed and built with fiscal sustainability in mind.”
Fleetwood said that Maryland requires municipalities to review their comprehensive plans every 10 years. He said that because the town would be updating its plan with a new element, it wouldn’t need to go through a separate review process.
“It makes sense to do it the way we’re doing it,” Fleetwood said.
The town council and the Berlin Planning Commission are expected to discuss the resilience element in the coming weeks.