Testimony: Vote not to delay full implementation of the modern Zoning Ordinance (Prince George’s, Oppose)

Hon. Jolene Ivey, Chair
Prince George’s County Council 
Wayne Curry Administration Building
1301 McCormick Drive, Largo MD

Dear Chair Ivey:

We urge the Council to vote against CR 22. We ask you to not delay implementation of the modern Zoning Ordinance by extending the overlapping use of the old zoning code for another two years, as CR 22 proposes. Further delay of the implementation of the modern zoning ordinance for another two years will harm the county’s ability to attract new investment and guide quality development to appropriate locations. Instead, we urge the council to go back to a more deliberative legislative process for CB 15 to consider the omnibus revisions to Zoning Ordinance.

We note however, that the PHED Committee’s vote to remove any review of residential use in the CGO zone outside the beltway should be reconsidered. Providing no guidance for residential development of CGO outside the beltway will burden the county with costly demands for additional services and road capacity, where transit and transportation alternatives are mostly infeasible. This traps new residents in a frustrating cycle of being dissatisfied with services and transportation access, while also worsening the county’s overall fiscal health. The lack of guidance for CGO residential redevelopment will continue to undermine progress toward reducing growth outside the beltway, and outside of activity centers. Continued unplanned growth outside the beltway harms inside the beltway communities and transit centers by diverting needed public investment away from priority growth areas. 

We are disappointed that the legislative process, both for CB 15 at the PHED committee and CR 22, has fallen short of a transparent and deliberative process. We ask the council to reconsider these procedures which have truncated the public input process. These proceedings have put public input after major decisions are made, and rush consequential legislation that could harm the county’s ability to implement Plan 2035.

We recognize that many in the development industry are urging further delay of the new zoning code. This is unwise. Instead, we should continue to monitor and refine the new code, but not delay transition to the new code. The new code offers streamlined, easy to understand zoning regulations, and the original version of the omnibus bill CB 15 provides helpful revisions to smooth its implementation. The new zoning code is the key to fulfilling the goals of Plan 2035.

Thank you for your consideration. 

Cheryl Cort
Policy Director