County Comment: Tell Washington County What You Think About Zoning in the Growth Area

County Comment
Tell Washington County What You Think About Zoning in the Growth Area
by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer

The Washington County Department of Planning and Zoning has announced public meetings designed to gather input from citizens on rezoning in the Urban Growth Area (UGA). The meetings will be held on Thursday, August 16th at 7:00 p.m. in the Hagerstown Community College Classroom Building auditorium, and on Tuesday, August 28th at 7:00 p.m. in the Williamsport High School auditorium.

The County is preparing for zoning changes in the growth areas that will implement recommendations of the Comprehensive Plan and is seeking input from the meetings, through electronic means and by direct mail.

Washington Countyís Comprehensive Plan is a policy statement and general guide for making decisions about how and where land will be used to create and maintain a desirable living environment for current and future residents of the County. The Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 2002. It established distinct urban growth and rural preservation areas. Between 2003 and 2005 Washington County implemented significant changes to the zoning in the rural areas of the County to implement the Comprehensive Planís goals of reducing development pressure and preserving agricultural land and historic rural character.

It is time to begin implementation of the Comprehensive Planís recommendations for the urban areas that will provide locations and encouragement for urban development where utilities and services exist or can be extended or provided economically.

Zoning establishes categories of land use and assigns those categories or districts to properties in a pattern that locates compatible or supportive uses together and separates incompatible uses. Zoning also determines specific design standards such as density, lot size, setbacks and parking standards and required amenities such as landscaping, recreation areas, lighting, sidewalks, buffering, etc.

Residents are encouraged to attend and comment on zoning in the urban areas during these public comment meetings.

Interested parties may also send comments via e/mail to , and are asked to include GROWTH AREA ZONING on the subject line. Citizens may also send comments by mail to the Washington County Planning Department, 80 West Baltimore Street, Hagerstown, Maryland 21740.