visionHagerstown 2035 - Comprehensive Plan Update


City Planning staff is working on an update to the City’s Comprehensive Plan (visionHagerstown 2035), which was last adopted in 2008. The Comprehensive Plan is a roadmap for how the city should plan for growth over the next 20 years and establishes a vision of what the community is to be in the future. As its name implies, the Plan covers many topics including Land Use, Transportation, Housing, Community Facilities, Water Resources, Economic Development, and Environmental Resources.

VisionHagerstown 2035 identifies issues and opportunities for each of these topics and then identifies policies and recommendations as to how to address them. Issues and opportunities are gathered through Staff analyses as well as input from City boards and commissions, County Planning Commission and staff, businesses, community groups, and citizens. Much of the Comprehensive Plan will also incorporate previous City plans already vetted through the community, including the 2012 Sustainable Community Plan and The Community’s City Center Plan. We also plan to incorporate, as appropriate, recommendations and conclusions from plans such as the Hagerstown-Eastern Panhandle Metropolitan Planning Organization (HEPMPO)’s 2040 Long-Range Transportation Plan, the City’s 2008-2010 Comprehensive Rezonings, and the 2012 County Urban Growth Area Rezonings.

Maryland State Law requires counties and municipalities to have a comprehensive plan, and that they should also be reviewed every 10 years. Planning Staff hopes to have the Plan adopted by Spring/Summer 2018.

There will be a public hearing on the Plan with the Mayor and City Council on February 27, 2018. 

​**** Draft Plan for Public Review (2/13/2018) ****

The draft of VisionHagerstown 2035 is now available for State clearinghouse and public review! Click on each section to explore.

Cover, Table of Contents, and Executive Summary Chapter 7 - Housing and Neighborhoods 
Chapter 1 - Introduction Chapter 8 - Urban Design and Historic Preservation
Chapter 2 - Growth Management and Land Use Chapter 9 - Community Facilities
Chapter 3 - Economic Development Chapter 10 - Environmental Resources and Sustainability
Chapter 4 - Water Resources Chapter 11 - Implementation 
Chapter 5 - Transportation Chapter 12 - Appendix
Chapter 6 - Downtown  

Community Input

We value feedback from our residents, businesses and stakeholders. We appreciate your input in the update of our Comprehensive Plan to guide Hagerstown's future. The City of Hagerstown widely distributed and promoted five online surveys to collect feedback to incorporate in the plan update. Hundreds of responses were collected over a three-month period. The focus areas included:

  • Economic Development
  • Transportation and Water Resources
  • Housing and Neighborhoods
  • Downtown
  • Urban Design and Sustainability

 Why are we updating the Comprehensive Plan now?

The City believes the time is ripe for visionHagerstown 2035 for several reasons:

1. The 2008 Plan was written during the midst of the mid-2000s real estate boom that, at that time, showed no signs of slowing. This led to over-emphasis on planning for growth from annexation and new residential developments, which in turn, resulted in exaggerated growth and population projections that were not likely to materialize within the Plan’s 20-year lifespan. VisionHagerstown 2035 will have more focus on revitalization of existing housing and neighborhoods and redevelopment of vacant & underutilized commercial and industrial lands, rather than just solely planning for new development. The Plan will also make new future land use recommendations that are more consistent with the City and County comprehensive rezonings, and it will propose a realignment of the city’s medium-range growth area to better capture where growth is happening within proximity to Hagerstown’s boundaries. 

2. VisionHagerstown 2035 will incorporate recommendations from and be consistent with City plans and initiatives undertaken since 2008, like the Sustainable Community Plan, Community’s City Center Plan, Comprehensive Rezonings, and others. The new Plan will not “reinvent the wheel”, but it will help to reinforce those plans and create a unified vision for the city for years to come.

3. Since Washington County is also updating their Comprehensive Plan, this gives both entities an unprecedented opportunity to discuss topics and issues of common interest, including water and wastewater infrastructure, widening of I-81 and I-70, and city growth and annexation.

4.VisionHagerstown 2035 will allow us to address current issues in the city, such as quality of life of housing and neighborhoods, poverty, economic development, (re)development of underutilized and vacant properties, and downtown revitalization. In addition, the Plan will address emerging issues such as environmental sustainability, future parks & open space needs, telecommunications, and alternative transportation (bicycling). 

Plan Setup & Public Process

VisionHagerstown 2035 update will carry the same basic format as the 2008 Plan. It will be divided into 9 elements, including: Land Use, Economic Development, Water Resources, Transportation, Downtown, Housing/Neighborhoods, Urban Design/Historic Preservation, Community Facilities, and Environmental Resources.

As the draft Plan is being prepared, Staff is seeking input on these topics from various groups including staff from other City departments, Planning Commission, Bicycle Advisory Committee, Faith Community Committee, County planning staff, and the County Planning Commission. Staff will be seeking input from others like the Main Street work groups and Neighborhoods 1st, and we will also be seeking input from citizens through our online & social media platforms.