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Emmitsburg begins comp plan review

(12/24) The Emmitsburg Town Council began its formal review of the draft comprehensive plan update at their December 15 meeting.

Producing a final draft of a proposed update has taken various town planning commissions over four years to produce.

The comprehensive plan being updated was adopted by the town council in 1998.

The townís planning commission presented the council with their final draft in October, initiating the town councilís review portion of the adoption process.

The council previously agreed to review sections of the update at the second council meeting of each month until the plan is ready for final approval and adoption.

Town Planner Sue Cipperly told the council at the December 15 meeting that the review process should be concluded sometime in May.

The first work shops held to deal with the comprehensive plan update occurred during 2004.

As the effort to produce a final draft seemed to gain momentum through 2005, the process suddenly ground to a halt with the resignations of then-Town Planner Michael Lucas and town Zoning Technician Jennifer Joy.

In the wake of those resignations, the town hired planning consulting firm Jakubiak & Associates, Inc., out of Annapolis, in 2006 to get the derailed plan update process back on track.

The firm predicted a short process to bring the update to a conclusion, stating that it could be done by the end of the year (2006).

But that prediction proved short-lived, as the effort dragged out into late 2008.

The planning commission finally held an initial public hearing on September 22 on the impending final draft.

The town administration apparently felt that routine town planning and zoning issues were bogging down Jakubiakís efforts at working on the plan, and hired Cipperly in in February of this year to take on all of the consulting firmís responsibilities other than those relating to the comprehensive plan update.

Added to the snailís pace production of the final draft was a state mandate dropped into the formula requiring that municipalities adopt a water resource element and imbed it into their comprehensive plans.

The council will continue with its review of the draft at their second meeting in January.

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