Comprehensive Plan Updates



October 11, 2022


Chapter 11 of the draft Comprehensive Plan addresses Denton’s historical features and their importance to the community. Managing the community’s historic resources ensures they continue telling the story of its physical and cultural evolution. A community that perpetuates the use of its original or historical features to serve the needs of current and future generations maintains a physical and emotional link with its past. It ensures that the Town’s unique identity will not be lost.

The goal of municipal government is to preserve places and structures of historical significance both for their intrinsic value for community identity and their role in heritage tourism, a component of the local economy benefitting local service and retail businesses. Accordingly, Denton has adopted historic district zoning and defined a district that encompasses most of the 100 properties identified in the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties (MIHP) prepared by the Maryland Historic Trust (MHT) in pursuit of this end.

Chapter 11 outlines programs and strategies to achieve this Plan’s goal of preserving and enhancing the Town’s rich cultural and historical heritage. These recommendations include adaptive reuse standards for converting obsolete buildings into new uses that optimize built assets’ operational and commercial performance while maintaining original elements. In addition, review processes for development will use the Pattern Book as guidance in development reviews of construction features compatible with the traditional identity of Denton’s buildings and neighborhoods.

Another strategy is for Denton to support efforts to increase heritage tourism. Denton is a member community in the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area and participates with the Heritage Area in a regional program to increase heritage tourism, an economic development strategy to increase visits by persons from outside the area who are interested in the historical or lifestyle offerings of the community.

The Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area’s Management Plan designates Target Investment Zones (TIZs). These are places where the Heritage Area will focus public investment on supporting heritage tourism. Denton’s central business district and the historic district are designated TIZs. Caroline Historical Society’s renovations to the former Denton Town Hall as a center for tourism development is an example of a capital project in Denton’s Targeted Investment Zone eligible for funding under Maryland’s Heritage Areas Management Program.


Chapter 6 of the draft Denton Comprehensive Plan outlines the Town’s strategies to preserve and protect the Town’s most vulnerable natural features, including streams and other sensitive natural areas. The chapter identifies these natural resources and sensitive environmental areas and measures to ensure that all new developments and redevelopments minimize pollutant loadings and runoff from the site that could adversely impact the features. It also considers the potential effects of climate change and sea-level rise.

Sensitive environmental resources include streams and stream buffers, the 100-year floodplain, endangered species habitats, and steep slopes. Other natural resources outside these narrowly defined sensitive areas include wooded areas and wildlife habitats.

Existing regulations the Town has adopted to minimize impacts on natural resources and sensitive environmental areas, including the Floodplain Management, Sediment and Erosion Control, and Forest Conservation Ordinances. In addition, natural features and sensitive environmental areas in Denton’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area are subject to extra controls, including strict limitations on development within 100 feet of tidal limits.

Because natural systems, including the most sensitive, are not confined to the corporate area, the Town and County share responsibility for their protection and thoughtful management. Consequently, any efforts to manage adverse impacts on the natural environment must recognize the regional context for protection efforts and involve coordinated efforts at all levels of government to have any hope for success.

Along with the County, the Town recognizes the importance of natural resource protection. Many of the most sensitive or fragile natural resources are present in the Rural Buffer discussed in the Municipal Growth Element. Therefore, the draft plan recommends the Town participate with the State, County, and other municipalities to implement strategies for environmental protection based on sound watershed management principles and coordinated resource protection strategies.

The draft plan identifies priority focus areas to preserve and areas to apply best management practices that minimize destructive change within the corporate limits. These are areas where the Town will apply best management practices that focus on minimizing impacts on and losing resources with the added benefit of lessening the potential impacts of climate change sea-level rise.

Click here to view the Planning Commission Working Session Agenda











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