County To Update Comp Plan

SNOW HILL– County officials are reviewing population figures as they prepare to begin updating the Worcester County Comprehensive Plan.

The county’s comprehensive plan, which was adopted in 2006, was amended in 2010 and 2011. As a result, the required 10-year review, delayed because of COVID-19, is now pending.

“We’re right in that timeframe,” said Jennifer Keener, the county’s director of development review and permitting. “Due to COVID the state gave us a little more of a window. We have until 2024 to get our plan updated.”

Keener said she was providing the commission with population figures so they could review those in preparation for updating the comprehensive plan. The population figures estimated in the comprehensive plan have not been reached. Instead of a population of 62,000 in 2020, Worcester County has closer to 52,000 people.

“Obviously our population numbers are not where we thought they would be,” Keener said. “That’s a good thing. For 2025 our projections are going to be more in line with what our plan says today.”

Keener said the commission would be tasked with reviewing the plan and determining if any changes were needed.

“Just looking at the general goals, they may be the same but some of our sections may change,” she said.

Changes throughout the county, such as the conservation of the former Bay Club property, will need to be addressed in the plan. Keener added that if the plan was adopted after Jan. 1 of next year it would need to include a new housing element mandated by the state.

“That’ll be something that’ll have to be worked on,” she said.

Keener suggested commission members plan to set aside time following upcoming meetings to discuss the plan. She said staff hadn’t yet decided on a specific timeline.

“We’re still talking about the framework for it but since the Census data came out in September of last year I did want to get that to you so you can start thinking about where we’re going to go,” she said.

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.