March 11, 2021 (Chesapeake Beach, MD)- The Town’s all-volunteer citizen Planning & Zoning Commission has recommended that the Town Council temporarily pause the review of Category 1 developments with a one-year moratorium.
Category 1 developments are commercial, institutional, and multifamily buildings like apartment and condominium buildings, senior housing projects, and townhouse developments. These project types and new major subdivisions all require an extensive public review and approval procedure called Category 1 Site Plan Review or Subdivision Plat Review and each would be subject to the temporary moratorium. Any such development project or building that already has valid approval from the Town would not be impacted by the moratorium.
Category 2 projects, on the other hand, such as single-family detached houses, accessory buildings like sheds, garages, bed-and-breakfast establishments, rehabilitation projects, and other projects such as residential additions, sunrooms, decks, fences, etc. would continue to be reviewed and permitted by the Town and would not be impacted by the moratorium.
Currently, there are (4) four separate major development site plans and (1) one major subdivision plan submitted to the Town that would be impacted by the proposed Moratorium. The project locations are viewable at http://bit.ly/holddevelopment.
“The submitted projects, and other development projects of this scope, could compound the issues and challenges the Planning Commission is seeking to address through a new comprehensive plan and even foreclose opportunities for the Town to responsibly manage development and improve infrastructure in the public interest.” Stated Town Planner, Christopher Jakubiak
The Planning & Zoning Commission is currently in the process of updating the Town’s Comprehensive Plan to address critical challenges the Town will face in the years ahead. These include, among others, rising water levels of the Chesapeake Bay and Fishing Creek, increasing groundwater tables, and heightened flood damage potential. The Planning Commission is also concerned that large and tall buildings may degrade the Town’s scenic vistas and views of the water, which are vital to the public’s desire to “Preserve and Enhance our Small-Town Charm”.
The Town Council reviewed a draft resolution that is in alignment with the Planning & Zoning Commission’s recommendation during the March 8th, 2021 Town Council Work Session. Town Council is expected to consider the resolution during March 18, 2021, Town Council Meeting. This meeting will be held virtually with public access and comment available via web and phone. The meeting can be accessed at http://bit.ly/tocbmeeting. To join by phone dial (929) 205- 6099 and enter the Meeting ID: 869 755 7180.
Illustrations of the currently known projects that may be impacted by the Planning Commission’s recommended Moratorium are shown below: