Planners To Begin Comp Plan Review

OCEAN CITY – Resort planners will begin a 10-year review of the town’s comprehensive plan this month.

On Dec. 19, members of the Ocean City Planning and Zoning Commission will hold the first of several monthly meetings to review the town’s comprehensive plan. Planning and Community Development Director Bill Neville said the technical review process would start with an introduction in December and monthly meetings beginning in January.

“I think this time around we’re proposing a different schedule, one that’s a lot quicker to get to the point of being ready to go out for public hearing,” he said.

Neville told community members the last comprehensive plan update was completed in 2017 and adopted in 2018. While the upcoming process would be similar, he said each meeting would focus on certain topics.

“Rather than going in numerical order, I propose that we group some of the chapters together that have common topics and themes,” he said. If you’re ready to move forward with this schedule at the next meeting on the 19th, we would be able to just review the introduction chapter, which was new the last time. It was an opportunity to summarize a lot of the basic themes of the comp plan and what was being proposed as changes.”

Neville said the following meetings would then focus on certain chapters. January, he explained, would be dedicated to population characteristics and economic development, while February would be dedicated to land use, community character and housing.

“The housing element is one of the main ones that the state has mandated that we do an update for …,” he said. “We need to tackle that fairly early in the process so that we understand what the implications are after we look at the housing element section.”

Neville said it was also an opportunity to invite the Maryland Department of Planning to the commission’s meeting.

“Housing is a big topic with a lot of new legislation that we have to respond to,” he said, “and they have a wealth of information about it in terms of guidance.”

Neville said the commission would then review transportation and downtown development in March, community facilities and public safety in April, and implementation in May.

Neville told commission members the goal was to have a draft document available for public input in June. Any comments, he said, could then be added to the comprehensive plan.

“I think we can focus on just a couple of things that need to be changed, and then that frees up time to address any new topics that come out of the discussion,” he said.

After further discussion, the commission agreed to dedicate the second commission meeting of each month to a comprehensive plan review, beginning Dec. 19 at 6 p.m.

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.