Easton Planning and Zoning Commission to Hold Work Sessions

Easton Planning and Zoning Commission to Hold Work Sessions

The Easton Planning and Zoning Commission is continuing its exercise of comprehensively updating the Town’s Zoning Regulations.  In October, they conducted a Public Hearing on two chapters they are proposing to extensively revise: The Planned Unit Development and Sign Regulations.

A primary concern and focus of the Commission throughout this endeavor are producing the best regulatory framework that encourages and facilitates infill development and redevelopment in and around Downtown Easton.  A related concern is the appropriate role (and scale) of residential development in this area.  The Commission continues to debate the merits of three different approaches to achieve these goals:

  • A revised base zoning district or districts
  • Revision of the Planned Unit Development Regulations, and
  • Creation of a new Form-Based Zoning District, which is a zoning approach that de-emphasizes regulation of the use of a property. Instead, it focuses on the actual built-environment that would result (i.e., the form of the building).  It is similar in many respects to Historic District regulations, but many more aspects are considered in a Form-Based Codes.

To determine the best path forward, the Commission has tentatively scheduled a series of works sessions that should help them gain insight as to which of these strategies (or combination of strategies) makes the most sense at the present time in Easton.

The first session is scheduled for the morning of January 16, 2020. It will involve meeting with professionals in the economic development/planning/real estate development fields and will seek their input on what might be current impediments to Downtown Development, the best future strategies, etc.

The second meeting is scheduled for February 20, 2020. It will explore the possible application of Form-Based Codes in Easton through discussions with professionals who have developed and/or worked with them in other jurisdictions.

The third meeting currently scheduled is planned for April with the Affordable Housing Board to discuss issues related to housing affordability and how that issue might play into future Downtown Development.

All of these work sessions are open to the general public (though they are not public hearings).  Anyone needing additional information (or who may have input to offer) may contact the Town Planner (Lynn Thomas) at lthomas@eastonmd.gov or (410) 822-1943.