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Worcester County wants community feedback for comp plan update

Worcester County planners continue to welcome the community’s input as part of a 10-year update to the comprehensive plan.

Worcester County sign

A “Welcome to Worcester County” sign is pictured.
File photo

By Bethany Hooper, Associate Editor

County planners continue to welcome the community’s input as part of a comprehensive plan update.

Jennifer Keener, director of development review and permitting for Worcester County, said members of the Worcester County Planning Commission recently started their review of the first chapters of Worcester’s comprehensive plan as part of a 10-year update. She said public feedback will be welcomed through the county’s website.

“Staff have developed a webpage that is kept up to date with copies of the draft chapters, a link for public comment, and a general schedule of future chapter reviews which will be updated as work session dates are set,” she said in a statement last week. “The Planning Commission also intends to hold informational open house-style events starting this fall to give the public a chance to provide additional feedback.”

Following the results of the 2020 Census, officials last year began an effort to update Worcester County’s comprehensive plan, a document that guides community goals and aspirations in the coming years.

Working with a contractor, the county solicited public input through an online survey and community events. Among the key issues cited in public feedback were preserving community character, loss of natural features and sea level rise.

During last week’s Mayor and City Council meeting, however, Ocean City resident and Worcester County Planning Commission member Mary Knight encouraged officials and community members to provide comments. She noted that one topic in particular – wind turbines – was not on the list of key issues.

“In our last meeting, I realized that the effect of wind turbines was not on this list and not brought forth, so that was a concern to me,” she told the council during a public comment portion of last week’s meeting. “And not the political aspect of wind turbines, but the economic effect it will have on the county, on real estate, the fact that our harbor will become industrialized, and affect residents that live there. All of those were really not part of or mentioned in this engagement.”

Knight said the comprehensive plan webpage provides a schedule of the comprehensive plan review, as well as opportunities for the public to comment on sections of the planning document as they are evaluated. She encouraged officials to incorporate their comments.

“Thank you for giving us an update,” Mayor Rick Meehan replied. “It’s a very important document for Worcester County and for Ocean City.”

An overview Worcester County’s comprehensive plan update can be found online. 

The webpage reads, “The Plan provides a framework for jurisdictions to protect and enhance their community character and natural and cultural heritage, preserve environmental resources, and foster economic development by planning for their long-term land use, transportation, housing, water resources, and other public infrastructure needs and identify the actions the County will need to take to meet these needs and achieve the planning goals that relate to them. Public participation is an important part of the comprehensive planning process, as it helps to ensure that the plan accurately reflects the vision of the community.”

This story appears in the June 27, 2024, print edition of the Bayside Gazette.