After more than six months of intensive public input during the general development planning process, Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh announced further steps the county will take to ensure responsible, measured growth.
“Over the past six months, we have engaged nearly every community as we look to map future growth in our county,” said Schuh. “As this process continues over the next two years, we must ensure we preserve the character of our communities by instituting measures to combat the forces of development.”
The responsible growth initiatives to be proposed by Schuh include the following.
Insituting a zoning freeze: To ensure the county does not undertake any zoning designation changes so close to the general development planning process, Schuh will propose legislation preventing the Office of Planning and Zoning from processing requests for rezoning for any property until a general development plan is submitted to the Anne Arundel County Council in 2019.
• Restoring small area planning: He will submit to the council legislation that would mandate small area planning for a five-year period after the completion of comprehensive rezoning.
Eliminating unnecessary modifications: At Schuh’s direction, the planning and zoning officer will reduce the number of development plan modifications and institute a stricter review process to ensure the intent of the code is observed. Planning and Zoning also would be barred from granting waivers on the public meeting requirements.
• Reforming the variance process: He will submit legislation to create an administrative waiver process for the planning and zoning officer to allow for officials to thoroughly evaluate variances for projects with a substantial environmental or community impact.
The announcement comes after a year of land use reform in the county. Last September, the county reduced general development timetable from 10 years to eight years. For more information, visit www.aacounty.org/Plan2040.
The general development plan is scheduled to be completed by December 2019, with the comprehensive rezoning legislation submitted to the county council thereafter.