Thursday, September 12, 2013

Council to Hold Second Hearing on Zoning Code Rewrite

The Council has decided to hold a second public hearing on proposed changes to the County's Zoning Ordinance. The hearing will be held on a date to be determined once the Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee has completed its recommended draft of the document.

The PHED Committee held worksessions every week in June and July on the County Planning Board’s recommended Zoning Ordinance Rewrite and is continuing its work in September. We expect to recommend amending many aspects of the text and map, but until we complete our worksessions, our recommendations are tentative.

The Council introduced the Planning Board’s recommendations on May 2 following years of the Planning Board’s extensive work and discussion with community groups and other stakeholders. We heard from more than 50 speakers at a public hearing on the Planning Board’s recommendations in January and have received extensive email and other correspondence from County residents over the past several months.

The Zoning Ordinance hasn't been comprehensively updated since 1977 and has grown to more than 1,200 pages over the last 30 years. The goal of the Rewrite is to reorganize and simplify the Zoning Code. Rewriting the code in plain language and reorganizing it into rational sections will enable residents to more easily participate in key land use decisions, and courts and agencies will have clearer rules to apply.

Although the County Charter calls for only one public hearing, we decided to hold a second public hearing because we recognize the significance of the proposed text and map changes. There are few changes proposed for single-family residential properties, but non-residentially zoned properties and their neighbors could be affected. ZTA 13-04 would implement the text changes to the Zoning Ordinance, and DMA G-956 would update the zoning for each property to apply a new zone. The proposed rezoning in DMA G-956 is designed to mirror each property's current zoning as much as possible.

You can see the proposed Zoning Rewrite, along with the tentative changes being considered by the PHED committee, at You also will find an interactive map that enables you to determine the existing and proposed zoning for every property in the County. Clicking on a particular property will display the development standards (density, height limits and setbacks) for the existing and proposed zone.

Further details on the hearing will be available shortly.

No comments: