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Comprehensive Plan sees public input

By Staff | May 9, 2014

A second public input meeting was held Thursday evening to review the working draft proposal for Shepherdstown’s Comprehensive Plan.

The proposal reflects feedback from the first input session, held in Nov. 2013 and the responses from 280 public surveys submitted to the Comprehensive Plan committee.

Members of the Shepherdstown Planning Commission and Comprehensive Plan Committee along with staff from Benchmark LLC were in attendance to answer any public questions.

Though turnout by residents was low, Vagn Hansen from Benchmark, gave a presentation reviewing the draft goals of the proposal.

According to Hansen, the Compressive Plan will reflect the nature of growth that Shepherdstown residents have concluded is appropriate.

Hansen said the downtown corporate are is to remain “sacred,” as part of the Comprehensive plan.

“Preserving the character of the corporation,” remains a top priority for land use.

Economic development of the downtown businesses is also a major component of the Comprehensive Plan.

Historic preservation and protection of green spaces rural areas is a concern reflected in the plan, as growth occurs.

Residents were invited to review material presented by Benchmark and offer guidance.

Resident Neil Martineau said that though he likes the plan it seems more like, “a plan to have a plan,”.

Martineau said the plan doesn’t go far enough to establish a zoning standard for growth.

Martineau said “smart code,” or form based code needs to be explicitly required in any new development.

“Spell it out,” he said.

A resident asked if the comprehensive plan proposal had any particular model.

“I don’t think Shepherdstown should turn into anything but Shepherdstown,” he said.

Resident Zenia Kuzma also asked about the demographics for “stakeholders,” considered by the proposal.

Hansen said the proposed plan reflects input gathered from a “cross-section,” of the greater Shepherdstown Community.

Following the meeting, Benchmark will review comments with the Comprehensive Plan committee before drafting a final plan to submit to the Planning Commission.

A final version is slated for completion and adoption in July.