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County may honor local growth plans

(11/9) Frederick County may be on the path of recognizing Emmitsburg growth boundaries, land use designations, and zoning as county planners continue working on revising their land use and zoning maps.

County planning representatives Jim Gugel, planning manager, and Denis Superczynski, planner, briefed the town Board of Commissioners November 7 on the approach and time frame the county has adopted in revising their comprehensive and zoning plans.

Historically, the county plans have not always jived with municipal plans when it came to designated land uses and zoning within municipal growth boundaries as defined in local comprehensive plans and, in some cases, even the growth boundaries have not agreed.

As part of the county’s comprehensive plan and zoning review, their planning commission is seeking to establish uniformity among the various maps.

"The (county) Planning Commission is supportive of making the plan changes consistent with municipal plans across the board," Gugel said.

In addition, Emmitsburg area property owners have nine applications before county planning for zoning changes within the town’s growth boundary, or involve land partially within that boundary, or lie adjacent to the boundary.

The properties involved include the EDC tracts at the western edge of town (also known as the Keefer-Fraley properties), Silver Fancy and Stockman holdings at the northern end, a small, less than one acre, parcel at the intersection of Route 140 and Tract Road, and land located on the east side of Route 15 at the east side of town.

Five of those parcels, including EDC, are seeking a change from an agricultural zoning designation to R-1 residential.

"Every (Frederick County) municipality has at least one request (for a zoning change), except Burkettsville," Gugal stated.

The planning manager said the county comprehensive plan revision hearing process and associated work shops will probably take place "through the winter," and that proposed changes could be implemented in March or April of 2012."

After the comprehensive plan and zoning work is completed, Gogal stated that "water and sewer (county plan revisions) may be next."

The town commissioners directed the town staff to prepare a response to the county indicating that the town supports bringing the county comprehensive plan land use designations into accord with those of the town, leaving zoning as it presently exists, and changing the county’s version of the town’s growth boundaries to match that in the town comprehensive plan.

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