Special Joint Council and Planning Commission Workshop Meeting
On the draft comprehensive plan
Special Joint Council and Planning Commission Workshop Meeting
The meeting agenda and backup material may be found at:
Audio of the meeting is located at:
Present: Mayor Jack Tarr and Town Council Members: Nancy Conklin, Terry Howard, Ellen Richardson, David Ross, Vice Mayor Anita Speidel, and Dr. Glenn Wolffe
Chincoteague Planning Commission: Chairman Ray Rosenberger, Robert Behr, Mollie Cherrix, Tom Derrickson, Charles Ward, and Jane Wolffe
Staff members: Robert Ritter, Town Manager; Kenny Lewis, Building and Zoning Administrator; Jared Anderson, Town Planner
Approximately 25 citizens attended the meeting.
The meeting began at 7:35 p.m.
The purpose of the meeting was to receive a briefing from Peter Johnston on the steps toward developing a new comprehensive plan and to receive comments, guidance, and questions from the Council and Planning Commission members. No public participation at this workshop. A new written version of the draft comprehensive plan will be prepared later after a series of meetings with the public. This June 28 workshop follows earlier public briefings on June 28, 2006 and February 22, 2007. (Summaries of earlier meetings on the draft comprehensive plan can be found at http://www.chincoteaguereports.com/my_weblog/chincoteague_comprehensive_plan/index.html)
Mr. Johnston emphasized that “this is your plan” and must represent the views of the citizens of this community. It is not something developed and imposed from outside. This presentation is a starting point for discussion. Mr. Johnston noted later that because of the substantial earlier controversy over the draft plan “we need to take baby steps in this community, not big leaps” as we move forward.
At earlier meetings with the public a broad spectrum of opinion had been shown. Some advocated the “status quo and less involvement of town government in land use.” Others favored “pro-active planning for the way land and building are developed and used.” The need now was to receive further public input and, hopefully, move toward some consensus document.
Mr. Johnston identified these “Key Public Concerns”:
- Implications of draft Land Use Plan for current zoning;
- Restricting commercial uses in residential neighborhoods;
- Eliminating townhouses and multi-family residential uses from commercial districts;
- Regulating aesthetics;
- Pre-mature planning for the land use implications of public sewer; and
- Public access to the water and protection of public views.
Mr. Johnston discussed the “Path Forward to Consensus Building
- Revise draft Goals and Objectives (Planning Commission);
- Prepared alternative Land Use concept with proposed zoning implications;
- Conduct stakeholder interviews and planning workshops to illicit comments and suggestions. Involve staff and members of the Planning Commission;
- Revise draft Plan accordingly and publish draft; and
- Conduct public information meetings.
Mr. Johnston had prepared and presented an “Alternative Land Use Plan” with maps indicating the location of various proposed land use plan areas. These areas consisted of:
Single Family Residential (R-1)
Two Family Residential (R-2)
Mixed Residential (R-3)
Resort Residential (alternative)
Neighborhood Commercial (C-1)
Corridor Commercial (New C-3 district)
Resort Commercial (New C-4 district)
Conservation (New district A-1)
In each case Mr. Johnston presented a suggested listing of “permitted uses,” “special exception uses,” and “conditional uses.”
A question and answer period followed.
Dr. Wolffe quoted Mayor Tarr to the effect that “you zone with zoning.” We should not by implication use the absence of central sewage as a zoning tool. He also raised the issue of how zoning and permits works today versus how it might work in the future, how special uses and conditional uses are itemized or not.
Jane Wolffe noted that while today townhouses/condos can be put in the R-1 single family residential area in the new plan this would not be permitted.
Anita Speidel hoped that while it would not be wise to try to regulate aesthetics (appearance of buildings, etc.) in the town as a whole it might be possible to do something in particular areas such as the town center.
Regarding the subject of aesthetics several people commented on the past controversy about the appearance of soft drink machines on the sidewalk downtown.
Mr. Johnston commented that a historic district could be created and that much could be accomplished by encouragement and voluntary steps regarding the appearance of buildings and related matters. One can appeal to civic pride. It might also be a constructive step for the town to have a recognition program for architectural and aesthetic achievements.
Bob Behr observed that the town is now able to create an arts and cultural district. He would like to see this included in the draft plan.
There was some discussion about how the town could control undesirable businesses such as tattoo parlors or adult-oriented businesses.
Terry Howard encouraged the process of meeting with community members to seek a broad range of views.
Ray Rosenberger agreed. We need community discussion. “This is not something shoved down your throat.” We need to get information and seek compromise.
Jared Anderson, the newly hired town planner, stressed his interest in hearing from the public in helping him do his job.
Bob Behr suggested that great change would be coming for the
Mayor Tarr noted that it is exactly one year since the first planning meeting was held on the draft comprehensive plan. The new concept of the plan and the way of going about it is much better than before. He wants copies of the land use maps enlarged and made available to the public for study. People need to get into this and make their comments heard. We are starting over. We will put together a group of stakeholders that Mr. Johnston can meet with.
Mr. Ritter agreed that we are going in the right direction now. We appreciate your redoing this.
Notes by David Johnson. Chincoteague Island
N.B. These notes do not constitute the public record of this meeting. The information contained herein is offered in good faith, is presented as accurately as possible, is thought to be a complete account of the proceedings. These notes are intended to be a public service devoid of political commentary for those who are interested in following the civic affairs of
Island. Notes of the meeting are recorded, transcribed and distributed by volunteers who receive no financial compensation for their efforts.