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County Executive Steve Schuh Announces Smart Growth Initiatives

Annapolis, MD (February 5, 2018) –After more than six months of intensive public input during the General Development Planning process, County Executive Steve Schuh today announced further steps Anne Arundel 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 the County Executive include:

  • Instituting a Zoning Freeze: To ensure the County does not undertake any zoning designation changes so close to General Development planning process, the County Executive will propose legislation preventing the Office of Planning and Zoning from processing requests for re-zoning for any property until a General Development Plan is submitted to the County Council in 2019.
  • Restoring Small Area Planning: The County Executive 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 the direction of the County Executive, 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 would also be barred from granting waivers on the public meeting requirements.
  • Reforming the Variance Process:  The County Executive 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.

Today’s announcement comes after a year of land use reform in Anne Arundel County, focused on transparency and community input. In September, the County reduced the General Development timetable from ten years to eight years.

The Office of Planning and Zoning has also sponsored an extensive schedule of public comment sessions that provide the citizens a significant opportunity to have their voice heard as county government embarks on the 18-month General Development Plan process. Officials from all relevant land use departments have been on hand to hear the ideas and perspectives of residents in every corner of the County.

“We are listening to citizens and working together to produce a collaborative vision for the future of Anne Arundel County,” said Schuh. “These initiatives are a direct result of extensive public input.”

To submit comments, see the schedule for remaining public input sessions, or learn more about the process, residents can visit:  www.aacounty.org/Plan2040.

The General Development plan is scheduled to be completed by December 2019, with the comprehensive re-zoning legislation submitted to the County Council thereafter.

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