Major vs. Minor Town Centers: A Significant Difference

Updated: Feb 7, 2019

Dunkirk has been designated a Minor Town Center (TC) since the concept was introduced in the 1983 Comprehensive Plan. However, the new draft Comprehensive Plan proposes to make Dunkirk a Major Town Center with 2,200 acres of residential area surrounding it. The Plan also recommends that "developer-funded public sewer" be permitted so that the area can be developed to its maximum potential. Many citizens are vehemently opposed to these proposals.

But the numerous objections submitted to the Planning Commission by residents were dismissed by one member at the September meeting, who said he “did not care whether it’s called a major or minor town center”. The Director of Planning and Zoning was dismissive of the issue as well. See Calvert Recorder article about the meeting here.

The chart below includes descriptions from the draft Comprehensive Plan and shows that there are significant differences between Major and Minor TCs, as well as the residential areas surrounding TCs.

As shown, calling Dunkirk a Major TC vs. a Minor TC is more than just semantics. The Planning Commission should consider the differences described, as well as citizens’ concerns, when determining Dunkirk’s fate. And citizens throughout the County should be concerned as well, since we all have to drive through Dunkirk on a regular basis. For some of us, this change could add significant time to our commutes as Route 4 funnels all the traffic from the proposed high-density residential areas.

The Planning Commission should also direct staff to study the impact the change will have on our roads, schools and aquifers before a decision is made, since this has yet to be done.

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