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General Development Plan

The 2009 General Development Plan was approved by the County Council under Bill No. 64-09 on October 19, 2009.
Download the 2009 GDP
History of Comprehensive Planning
As a charter county, Anne Arundel County is granted planning and zoning powers by Article 25A of the Annotated Code of Maryland.  Article 66B (Land Use) of the State Code also includes some requirements for comprehensive planning that apply to charter counties.  The Anne Arundel County Code designates the Office of Planning and Zoning to prepare and periodically update a comprehensive plan to guide growth and development.
The County has had a General Development Plan since 1968, with updates in 1978, 1986, 1997, and most recently, 2009.  Historically, the County has revised or amended the GDP to reflect demographic, economic, social, and environmental changes that have occurred.  The 1997 General Development Plan also incorporated policy recommendations that comply with Maryland's Economic Growth, Resource Protection and Planning Act of 1992 and related "Smart Growth" legislation.  The 2009 GDP provides a greater focus on integrating land use planning with water resources planning.
The 1997 General Development Plan
The 1997 GDP contained many recommendations on how the County might better manage growth, conserve the environment, and meet people's needs.  It also contained a generalized Land Use Plan (1997 GDP Land Use Plan) that served as a guide to where various types of development should be located.  The County has worked diligently since 1998 to implement many of the plan recommendations.  Major accomplishments include:
  • Completion and adoption of sixteen Small Area Plans.  These community-based plans, known as SAPs, serve as guides to how individual properties should be used and what facilities may be needed to serve the County's communities.  The plans were prepared with an extensive amount of public outreach between 1998 and 2004.  These plans also served as a vehicle for refining the County's Land Use Plan and the individual land use plans contained in each SAP have been consolidated to form the County's current Land Use Plan (2004 Land Use Plan).  Each SAP was followed with comprehensive zoning legislation to rezone properties according to the adopted Land Use Plan.  The County will continue to implement the many Small Area Plan recommendations over the coming years.
  • Designation of Mixed Use Areas and adoption of Mixed Use Zoning legislation.  The 1997 GDP and subsequent Small Area Plans identified areas where mixed use development should be encouraged, incorporating a variety of residential, office, and retail uses in close proximity.  Four new Mixed Use Zoning categories were added to the Zoning Ordinance in 2001 and, since that time, several properties have been rezoned and some mixed use developments are in the planning stages.
  • Creation of a Commercial Revitalization Program.  Following on the GDP goal of enhancing existing communities, legislation was adopted in 2001-2002 establishing sixteen Commercial Revitalization Districts along many of the County's older commercial highway corridors and within older neighborhood centers.  The program provides greater redevelopment opportunities by allowing property tax credits and a greater mix of uses in the designated districts.
  • Adoption of the Odenton Town Center Master Plan.  This Master Plan was adopted in 2003 and established development and zoning regulations and guidelines to promote an attractive, viable, and pedestrian-friendly Transit Oriented Development center near the Odenton MARC rail station.
  • Adoption of new functional plans including a Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan (2003) and a Greenways Master Plan (2002).
The 2009 General Development Plan
The 2009 General Development Plan establishes a vision for the future based on four core principles: balanced growth and sustainability, community preservation and enhancement, environmental stewardship, and quality public services. The 2009 GDP includes a Land Use Plan to guide future development patterns, and a Transportation Plan with recommendations for improving the County‚Äôs road network, public transit options, and travel demand management.  The GDP also proposes a Priority Preservation Area in accordance with new State requirements for agricultural preservation. In addition, the GDP includes a Water Resources Plan that assesses land use impacts on local water resources and lays out strategies to protect those resources. Finally, the GDP addresses the need for concurrency management to ensure that public facilities and services will be available to serve future needs.

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