County Executive Pittman Launches Community Driven Planning Effort
Annapolis, MD (March 13, 2019) – Today, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman announced a new strategy to guide the county’s General Development Plan. The new strategy includes shifting the composition of the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) to representatives of Anne Arundel County’s neighborhoods and communities, launching the process with a day-long workshop managed by a leading national consultant and creating a more robust community visioning process.
“We’re putting the ‘citizen’ back in the Citizens Advisory Committee and we are fulfilling our promise to create a community-driven process that starts with neighborhoods,” said Pittman. “Our new CAC has community representatives from each of the county’s former sixteen Small Areas, and none are people whose livelihoods depend on developing land. Instead, we selected people capable of bringing their neighbors together to get engaged in the process. Developers and environmental advocates have at-large seats to ensure that their voices are heard, and we are bringing in outside experts who know best practices in smart growth planning.”
The Citizens Advisory Committee will be chaired by Elizabeth Rosborg of Arnold Preservation Council, who was previously on the CAC convened in mid-2018 under the previous Administration. Five other previous members of the CAC are continuing their service, but the majority of the new committee is comprised of community leaders who applied in February when County Executive Pittman re-opened the application process.
In addition to the members representing each of the county’s previous Small Area Planning districts, the committee has five at-large positions. These positions are held by Ms. Rosborg as Chair, Melanie Hartwig-Davis as a representative of the environmental community, one spot each for the residential developers and the commercial developers; and finally Sofia Wahlla, a student at Old Mill High School representing Chesapeake Regional Association of Student Councils.
“We wanted a student member on our committee because their generation will inherit the decisions we make in the GDP,” said Pittman. “They should get a say in what their future looks like.”
Along with the launch of the new committee, the Office of Planning and Zoning updated the GDP timeline and outlined a greater community engagement effort that includes a visioning process to begin in the Spring. That effort includes a kick-off and public education workshop scheduled for April 13 and Small Area Plan outreach sessions to follow in May. The county plans to work with national experts from nonprofit organization Smart Growth America to plan and conduct that meeting.
“The new Citizens Advisory Committee is more diverse, represents more communities and is intended to foster greater collaboration among all stakeholders,” said Phil Hager, Planning and Zoning Officer. “We welcome the addition of more public participation and believe this will result in a stronger General Development Plan.”
The new proposed timeline estimates that the General Development Plan would be introduced to the County Council in the spring of 2020. After adoption of the GDP, the Administration will initiate the comprehensive zoning process. The Administration plans to consider comprehensive zoning legislation on a community scale, similar to the former Small Area Plan districts, beginning in July 2020.
More information about the Citizens Advisory Committee and the strategy and timeline for the General Development Plan can be found at https://www.aacounty.org/departments/planning-and-zoning/long-range-planning/general-development-plan/index.html.