What will change, Thompson said, are things like housing data, statistics on land use, and population and employment numbers, all of which will be updated to reflect the most recent figures.
The review also will allow planners to work into the plan some local and state initiatives that have occurred in the last six years.
For example, the county likely will incorporate a new state law about preservation areas.
The county receives state money every year to preserve agricultural land but now must identify what are called Priority Preservation Areas to continue receiving as much preservation money as possible, Thompson said.
County planning staff members have chosen three areas - one near Clear Spring, another near Smithsburg and a third larger area south of Hagerstown - as the best places for priority preservation, according to Stephen T. Goodrich, the county's chief planner.
If those areas are approved after a public hearing and review by the county commissioners and planning commission, they could be mentioned in the comprehensive plan, Thompson said.
In addition, there has been talk of adding a transportation planner to county staff.
While the comprehensive plan's sections on transportation likely won't be changed much, language might be added to account for that future position, Thompson said.
When a draft revision of the comprehensive plan has been written, the county will hold at least one public hearing on the document.
Thompson said he is not sure how many hearings will be held or when they will take place.
He said the county hopes to finish the update by August.
Likely changes to existing plan
Most of this year's changes to Washington County's Comprehensive Plan will be minor, according to county planners. Here are a few examples of things that likely will change during the update:
· Population, housing and employment data.
· Areas approved for priority preservation under a newly passed state law probably will be added.
· Broad goals on such things as growth management, economic development and environmental conservation that were listed in the 2002 plan will be re-examined.
To look at the 2002 comprehensive plan online, go to www.washco-md.net, click on "County Ordinances" and select "Comprehensive Plan (2002)."