Worcester County was right to relax Route 50 design guidelines, but local residents should be weary of what could be coming in the future as a result.
These design guidelines came about in the 1990s as a result of a visioning process that involved crafting a corridor plan on Route 50 from Seahawk Road east to Holly Grove Road. That area was at that time expected to become a hotbed for commercial development, specifically franchise restaurants and retail businesses.
With a few exceptions, that has never materialized. The economic collapse of a decade ago is partly to blame. The seasonality of the area and the small — relatively speaking — year-round population is part of the equation as well. The high cost of available properties and requisite utility connections are also part of the reason why this area has not been attractive to corporate types. We believe these are the primary reasons.
According to county officials and lawyers representing prospective developers, the current design guidelines on the books in Worcester County are to blame as well. They see them as too restrictive for national brand names being sought to build in front of the Wal-Mart and Home Depot and on either side of the big box stores.