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P & Z begins comp plan discussion

James Rada
Emmitsburg Dispatch

(3/15) Now that the Emmitsburg Planning and Zoning Commission has had some time to look over the draft town comprehensive plan, the discussion has started about what should change and what should stay.

Chris Jakubiak, the town’s planning consultant, met with the planning and zoning commission on Feb. 13 to start the process of refining the plan that will guide development in Emmitsburg for the next 25 years.

“Only after the public hearing will the Planning Commission make any final decision on the plan,” Jakubiak explained to the commission and the audience.

Housing

Jakubiak told the commission that by 2008, Emmitsburg will have 1,112 houses.
“By 2030, we expect the number of households to reach 1,950 which translates into a population of 4,800,” he said.

Commission member Tim O’Donnell expressed concern that many of the new houses might be townhouses and some residents had expressed reservations about that type of development.

Chairman Larry Little said, “Townhouses are affordable housing. They’re not low quality. They’re not low-income housing.”

O’Donnell is a supporter of having residences over the new stores that are proposed along Annandale Road to extend the historic downtown look of Main Street.

“I want residences over shops so when the town shuts down, it isn’t just an empty shell of stores,” O’ Donnell said. He also noted that residential growth would be necessary to enhance current and proposed businesses.

Open Space

The draft plan tries to incorporate the idea of a greenbelt around the town and many of the properties that would be in this greenbelt have already been placed into some type of conservation protection.

“This greenbelt concept is well on its way to being established in Emmitsburg,” Jakubiak said.

Parkway

Commission member Catherine Forrence pointed out that the proposed parkway that would go around the Emmitsburg’s southwest edge relieving some of the downtown traffic problems would go though some environmentally sensitive areas.
Jakubiak said the parkway wouldn’t solve all of Emmitsburg’s traffic problems, but “it certainly goes a long way in improving the traffic situation through the center of town.”

He believes the parkway could be done without changing the character of Mountain View Road, which would become part of the parkway. Forrence said that a parkway would require major changes at the Mountain View/Route 140 intersection.

O’Donnell expressed concerns about the amount of growth that would need to be supported to pay for the parkway. Developer Andy Mackintosh estimates the cost of the parkway at $10 million.

In the end, O’Donnell is not even sure that a parkway will alleviate some of the truck traffic through downtown.

Jakubiak seemed to agree with him, saying, “This is a state trucking route so it will be used for trucking even if we make it more difficult to use.”

Read other news stories related to the Emmitsburg Town Government