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Comprehensive Plan 101

The Planning Commission

A primary responsibility of the Planning Commission is to develop a Comprehensive Plan for Washington County and to present this plan that contains long term recommendations for land use decisions to the County Commissioners for consideration and adoption.

As caretakers of the Comprehensive Plan, the Planning Commission is charged with helping a community achieve its full potential, as outlined by the overall vision of the plan. Planning Commission members accept the civic responsibility of helping residents, businesses, employers and property owners develop and implement a vision for how they want their community to look and function in the future.

Planning Commission member is a voluntary appointment by the Board of County Commissioners. The Commission also serves to implement land development regulations such as the Subdivision, Zoning, Adequate Public Facilities and Forest Conservation Ordinances that comply with local and State land use policies.

The Planning Commission members are as follows: Front row from left to right:  Drew Bowen, Terry Reiber (Chairman), Clint Wiley (Vice-Chairman).  Back row from left to right:  Sasson Shaool, Dennis Reeder, Commissioner Bill McKinley, Sam Ecker
The Planning Commission members are as follows:  Back Row (left to right):  Dennis Reeder, Clint Wiley, Andrew Bowen, David Kline.  Front row (left to right):  Commissioner LeRoy E. Myers, Jr. and Terry Reiber.  Absent from photo:  Sam Ecker.

What is a Comprehensive Plan?

The Comprehensive Plan is a document developed by the Planning Commission and adopted by the Board of County Commissioners after extensive citizen input. It contains long term goals, guidance and recommendations relating to land development and preservation policies for a 20-year horizon period. The Plan is developed by:

Why is the Comprehensive Plan Important?

Decisions about housing, education, public safety, economic development, infrastructure and resource development, recreational opportunities, land preservation, cultural and historic resource protection and many more community resources will be made based in part upon the findings and recommendations of the Plan.

Why is public participation important in the development of the Plan?

Citizens make the community. Citizens’ diverse opinions make each community unique and each community's land use needs and desires unique. Citizen input is critical to accurately predict future growth patterns and resource needs.

How is the Comprehensive Plan organized?

The Plan is organized into four (4) basic sections:

How is the Comprehensive Plan used?

The Comprehensive Plan is a guidance document used by the Board of County Commissioners and other local government agencies to develop regulatory and policy documents relating to land development and preservation. The Plan is also used to ensure consistency and fiscal responsibility in the development of infrastructure and resource planning. Finally, it provides citizens a certain amount of predictability in how development may occur in their neighborhood.

Why is the Comprehensive Plan being updated?

In order for the analysis and recommendations of the Comprehensive Plan to be relevant, the data and observations used to develop the Plan need to be as current as possible. Community needs and resources change over time and it is important that land use decisions be updated to reflect those changes in our physical environment. In addition, the State of Maryland requires that Comprehensive Plans be reviewed, and if needed, updated on a 10 year cycle.

Comprehensive Plan Update Process


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