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Beach Planning Commission reviews its annual report

At its February meeting, the Colonial Beach Planning Commission, under the direction of Vice Chairman Maureen Holt, reviewed an annual report prepared by Gary Mitchell, Director of Planning and Zoning. Chairman Cynthia Misicka and member David Coombes were absent.  
According to the annual report, in 2010 the commission approved one conditional use permit, four zoning text amendments, five right-of-way vacations, and one amendment to the Capital Improvement Plan that entailed a complete re-write of the Colonial Beach subdivision regulations, which is in the final stage of approval.
As the commission looks forward to 2011/2012, according to Mitchell, upcoming issues will include Capital Improvement Plan updates and updates to the Comprehensive Plan, including more user-friendly zoning ordinances and final adoption of Phase III Chesapeake Bay Act requirements.   
The only new business under discussion was that members had noticed the Day’s Inn in Colonial Beach had lost its franchise and that the hotel was operational, but had taken the signage down.  
The Planning Commission meets the first Thursday of every month at 4:30 p.m. at town center.

— Kathy Flanagan

First woman elected to chair commission

Misicka takes the helm, joined by Holt as vice chairwoman
 
Colonial Beach is on the cusp of change.  The Planning Commission, with its six appointed members, is tasked with taking the lead on land use issues that shape the future of the town.  Leading the commission in 2011 will be newly elected chairwoman Cynthia Misicka and newly elected vice chairwoman Maureen Holt.  
Misicka is the first woman to be elected chairperson of the commission.  She brings to that position 20 years experience as a federal civil rights attorney and an experienced eye for detail.  Misicka was appointed to the commission in January 2009 after becoming a full-time resident of the beach in 2007.  As with many town residents, Misicka “instantly fell in love” with the town and relocated here from Falls Church.  She has been able to continue her career part-time by way of telecommuting.
As to the significance of the commission electing two women as chair and vice chair, Misicka commented, “Although I believe women and men are more similar than they are different, it is an occasion to celebrate given the historic exclusion of women from government and positions of leadership and that women remain underrepresented in these roles.”

Read more: First woman elected to chair commission

As CB town council pushes forward, businesses oppose C-1 zoning changes

At a special meeting yesterday morning, Gary Mitchell, Director of Building and Zoning, presented the latest revision of proposed text amendment changes to Article 8, Commercial Limited C-1 District zoning that many believe adversely impacts businesses in town.  There were approximately 25 business owners and citizens in the audience.
The zoning text amendment revisions began approximately three years ago in response to the proposed creation of a Maritime Commercial district on “The Point” south of Boundary Street that offered to provide appropriate locations for a variety of commercial activities related to water oriented issues.  It offers a mix of residential and commercial uses that includes marinas, restaurants, single family dwellings and hotels and motels among other permitted uses.  It includes front and rear yard setback regulations, height and screening regulations.

Read more: As CB town council pushes forward, businesses oppose C-1 zoning changes

CB commission looks at zoning ordinances

Four topics dominated last week’s Colonial Beach Planning Commission meeting. These included: Article 30 and its recommendation to be forwarded to the council, a resent presentation to the council regarding zoning ordinance C-1 and newly created C-2 and Maritime Commercial District, and the introduction of a Unified Development Ordinance and a work plan for the Planning Commission.
Article 30 of the Colonial Beach zoning ordinance was created to set basic developmental standards and guidelines within each zoning district and is designed to promote public health, safety and welfare as well as environmental protection of our water, air and land.
Article 30 ensures all new construction not only conforms to Chesapeake Bay Act regulations, but that roads and drainage are built to VDOT standards before dwellings can be occupied.
Several items address aesthetics that conform to the new Comprehensive Plan such as screening heating and air conditioning units from public view and placement of decorative street lamps and underground utilities.

Read more: CB commission looks at zoning ordinances

Will new standards hinder development?

During a recent Planning Commission meeting to approve the Comprehensive Plan, Colonial Beach Vice Mayor Trish King expressed a desire to see the Comprehensive Plan remain in the forefront of everyone’s mind.
At last week’s Planning Commission Meeting on Jan. 7, before the new Comprehensive Plan has even been approved at the council level, Planning Director Gary Mitchell and the commission have already begun revamping subdivision zoning ordinances to conform to new standards set in the new Comprehensive Plan.

Read more: Will new standards hinder development?

Will Comprehensive Plan bring harmony to Colonial Beach?

On July 23, the Planning Commission met to discuss the last chapter, chapter 5, in the town’s Comprehensive Plan with Carol Rizzio and Bill Spivey of Land studio.
Comprehensive planning is a way of making a town or city more attractive as well as functional.
 Although nothing is set in stone, the idea is to transition the town to attract visitors, but keep residential areas separate enough to allow peaceful living for residents while the hub of the town entertains visitors.
The Community Vision Statement adopted by the Planning Commission gives a general overview of what the Colonial Beach Planning Commission is trying to achieve by implementing the Comprehensive Plan.

Read more: Will Comprehensive Plan bring harmony to Colonial Beach?

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