Approving a pig in a poke.

Maybe, just maybe the current version of the Freedom Community Comprehensive Plan isn’t quite ready for prime time.

The Board of Commissioners is considering whether or not to approve the Freedom Community Comprehensive Plan developed by the County’s Planning Department and endorsed by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Among others, the Plan includes three new “land use designations” that you can see in the screenshot below from Page 214 of the Plan in “Appendix D, Future Land Use Definitions.”

To be clear, these are not “zoning classifications.”

“No kidding!”

You’re right. There are no details. No store sizes limits, if any are forthcoming. Presumably there will be. And there’s no list of “permitted uses.” The descriptions are, in other words, very general, telling us next to nothing about what, precisely, can go on a given property.

“So, how do we know whether or not the Plan makes any sense?”

We don’t. The Planning Department is hoping to present a list of actual “zoning classifications,” related to these much more general “land use designations,” to the Board some time in November.

“But won’t the Comprehensive Plan have been approved by then?”

Quite possibly, yes.

“That doesn’t make any sense. What is it that we’re approving? What have all these hearings been about if we don’t even know what the Plan does?”

No. It doesn’t make any sense. The Plan shouldn’t be approved until the specifics of zoning have been published and thoroughly reviewed and discussed by the public.

“We’re the only people who get this, aren’t we?”

Apparently.

“So, if I live on, let’s say, Homeland Drive for example, and the vacant property next to me is rezoned from B-NR (Business – Neighborhood Retail) to C-Medium or C-High, I have no way of knowing whether the developer is going put, I don’t know, a medical arts building on it or a Hammerjack’s hard rock bar? …A nice hotel or theater complex or a Costco with long lines of cars backed up onto Liberty Road waiting for cheap gas?”

Do you want the truth or should I just say something to make you feel better?

“That’s what I thought. …Actually, I’ll tell you what I think.”

Hey. This is a family-friendly website.

“I think the Board needs to send the Plan back to the Planning Department and tell them not to resubmit it until it comes with detailed zoning classifications and a map so we can see precisely which properties are going to be rezoned for what, exactly.”

And maybe some impact analysis that will define the specific effects of the Plan – good, bad and ugly – on the local neighborhoods and Eldersburg overall?

“Yeah. That too. That would be nice, but I have the feeling it’s too much to ask – and that no one would care even if we did. Ask, that is.”

You have something against cheap gas?

“No. I have something against traffic. And a Board that asks for our input, but never seems to act on it.”

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