Comp Plan Open House Scheduled

FENWICK ISLAND – Officials say community members will have a chance to review the town’s comprehensive planning efforts at an upcoming open house.

On Wednesday, the Fenwick Island Planning Commission adopted a timeline for completing and submitting the town’s new comprehensive plan. Committee members say the timeline also includes an open house, scheduled for May 20, which will give community members an opportunity to discuss and engage in the planning process.

“The more information you can get to people, and the more channels you can use, the better it will be and the more transparent this process is,” Mayor Natalie Magdeburger, commission member, said.

Last year, the town council agreed to hire consultants to assist the planning commission in rewriting Fenwick Island’s comprehensive plan. And in the months since, officials have worked with University of Delaware advisors to collect data, maps and demographics and develop a vision for the town’s future. The commission also launched a public survey, the results of which were reviewed this week. Officials say the town received responses from 338 part-time residents, 105 fulltime residents, 13 business owners, and 26 visitors.

Commission Chair Susan Brennan noted survey results highlighted community members’ opposition to wind turbines, their concerns about bayside flooding, and their desires to maintain the town’s quiet, family oriented character, among other things. Those results, officials say, will be used to help shape the draft comprehensive plan.

“The number one sort of overriding feature is to keep Fenwick Island a family friendly beach,” Magdeburger said.

Officials this week said the commission will finalize chapters of the comprehensive plan in April and hold an open house on May 20. Commission member Amy Kyle questioned if a completed draft would be available at that meeting.

Other commission members said some completed chapters would be available for review, which others could be presented in a PowerPoint format. Magdeburger noted that the public would also have a chance to review the draft document in the weeks following the open house. She added that the draft plan would be presented by the town council on June 8.

“There will be multiple public engagement sessions that will push this out,” she said.

After further discussion the commission voted to adopt the comprehensive plan timeline, with Kyle opposed. She argued that the town should give the community additional opportunities to comment before the plan is presented to the town council.

“I just don’t think it’s sufficient,” she said.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.