Tag: pg zoning update

Support the Countywide Map Amendment (aka “CMA”), while preventing displacement

The CMA is critical to building quality, walk- and bike-friendly communities and vibrant, transit-oriented downtowns. That’s why CSG is urging the Council to implement this once-in-a-generation zoning rewrite. We’re close to the end of a process that began in 2014 – putting in place modern zoning regulations to replace 50 year old rules!

Send a message to the Council today!

However, we’re concerned that, in some cases, aging apartments in designated transit centers are proposed for significant upzoning without sufficient protection for residents against displacement. Therefore, while supporting the CMA, we’re asking the County to adopt one of the fixes we’ve proposed to address this problem. We’ve included our suggestions in the sample letter we’re providing to you. You can also read more about our solutions in CSG’s testimony here

Take Action: Don’t let the MD General Assembly kill Prince George’s zoning rewrite

Take Action: Don’t let the MD General Assembly kill Prince George’s zoning rewrite

No matter where you live in Maryland, join us in supporting Prince George’s County. Montgomery County and the City of Baltimore recently updated their zoning codes but the General Assembly could in effect block Prince George’s from doing so.

The Prince George’s House delegation is sponsoring a bill (HB 980), on behalf of County Executive Alsobrooks, the County Council and the Planning Commission. This bill will allow the County to finalize and vote to approve the Countywide Zoning Map Amendment. This singular action is needed to repeal and replace the county’s outdated zoning code. The bill is advancing through the Maryland General Assembly but needs to get all its final votes by the end of the session on April 12, 2021.

Take action now: email your Maryland legislators!

Here’s the issue:

Prince George’s County has worked for six years and spent millions of dollars to painstakingly modernize its outdated zoning code to better support transit-oriented development, and walk- and bike-friendly communities. The zoning rewrite also makes it easier to understand; and sets time-limits on development approvals which today can last forever. But a state ethics law, which only applies to Prince George’s County, would prevent councilmembers who have received a campaign donation from any affected property owner in the County (approximately 300,000 different properties and 250,000 different owners) from voting on the Countywide Zoning Map Amendment that implements the new zoning. No other jurisdiction in the state has this very restrictive law.

The proposed legislation is limited to enabling the County Council to vote for the Countywide Zoning Map Amendment – the total repeal and replacement of old zones with the new, updated zones. The County Council and Planning Commission have established, by local legislation and approvals, a decision process that will take public feedback, evaluate all properties and make recommendations on designations to place all properties in the County into one of the new zones most equivalent to its existing zone (i.e. Residential, Commercial, Industrial or Mixed-Use zones). 

It does not affect any other zoning decision and this does not apply to everyday, individual zoning and development review matters that come before the Council currently or in the future.

Email your state legislators today!

Without this legislation, Prince George’s will be stuck with outdated zoning, frustrating efforts to make zoning more understandable and preventing the county from shaping a more sustainable and competitive future.

The fate of years of work to bring Prince George’s zoning into the modern era hangs in the balance. Please email today!

Thanks for all you do,

Cheryl Cort

Policy Director, Coalition for Smarter Growth

P.S. Click here to view our testimony and get more of the details.

CSG in the News: Prince George’s Zoning Rewrite Stalls Over Unique Ethics Rule

CSG in the News: Prince George’s Zoning Rewrite Stalls Over Unique Ethics Rule

UPDATE 4/12/2021: The revised bill, HB 980, passed both the Maryland House of Delegates and the Senate. Thanks to all those who took action! The final bill was amended (changes we supported) to address concerns and ensure broad support. View final bill here.

“First on FOX 5: Prince George’s County has spent millions of dollars over six years on a massive countywide rezoning plan. Leaders say it’s crucial to make the county more competitive and business friendly, but after all that time and money, the process has hit a hurdle.” View FOX 5 story here.

CSG testified in support of the state bill because adjusting the County’s unique ethics rules for the Countywide Zoning Map amendment will be the final step in implementing the years-long update to the zoning code. Adopting the modern, updated zoning regulations is a once in a generation opportunity. Montgomery County and Baltimore City do not have this ethics rule, unique to Prince George’s, and have already adopted their next-generation zoning regulations.

View CSG’s testimony in support of completing the Countywide rezoning here. View our action alert here. The proposed legislation can be viewed here and final bill is here.

Photo Credit: C. Cort

CSG Testimony in Support of PG 416-21: Finish the Countywide Rezoning

CSG Testimony in Support of PG 416-21: Finish the Countywide Rezoning

RE: Testimony in Support for PG 416-21: Prince George’s County – Public Ethics – Definition of Application

At the Virtual Delegation Bill Hearing on Local/Bi-County Legislation By The Prince George’s County House Delegation, February 2, 20201

By Cheryl Cort, Policy Director, Coalition for Smarter Growth

Dear Members of the Delegation:

Please accept these comments on behalf of the Coalition for Smarter Growth. The Coalition for Smarter Growth is the leading organization working locally in the Washington, DC metropolitan region dedicated to making the case for smart growth. Our mission is to promote walkable, inclusive, and transit-oriented communities, and the land use and transportation policies and investments needed to make those communities flourish.

We are pleased to provide testimony in support of PG 416-21. This bill provides a legislative adjustment needed to complete the Prince George’s County Zoning and Subdivision rewrite. A uniquely Prince George’s County ethics law has tripped up the Countywide Zoning Map Amendment (CMA), which is the last step in the zoning rewrite process. This ethics law doesn’t exist anywhere else in the state including in Montgomery County or Baltimore City which has already updated their zoning regulations.

The County’s zoning rewrite was adopted by the Prince George’s County Council in December 2018. After the late 2018 adoption, the Countywide Zoning Map Amendment (CMA) process was initiated. The CMA is the final stage where the rewritten zoning regulations are implemented by applying the new or updated zones to the County’s zoning map.

Over the course of a number of years, we worked with stakeholders and community activists to engage in the public process to update the county’s outmoded zoning and subdivision regulations. We have advocated for the adoption of the modernized regulations through various public fora, and hearings by the County Council.

We made this a priority because this zoning rewrite is a significant advance for the county. The zoning rewrite and CMA are worth the effort because they replace the county’s current obsolete and cumbersome zoning regulations which are holding back the county. Here are some of the ways the zoning and subdivision process will improve:

  • Design and building form standards: the document establishes transit-oriented zones at the local and regional scales to support the goals of walkable urbanism, creating walkable, and bikable areas that are well-connected to transit;
  • Parking standards for urban and transit-oriented areas: the zoning rewrite reduces excessive minimum parking requirements in transit-oriented centers in order to support more multimodal designs and uses.
  • Street designs: the revisions require interconnected streets, shorter blocks, and pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. It implements newly adopted urban street design standards that support walk and bike friendly streets.  
  • Transportation demand management: the regulations also establish progressive traffic reduction measures that emphasize encouraging more people to ride transit if available, bicycle, share rides and walk.
  • Ease of use: The zoning and subdivision regulations are presented in a more readable format providing tables and graphic illustrations to better understand and visualize the standards.
  • Ending perpetual approvals: The zoning rules establish limits on approvals after a number of years. Today, approvals are allowed to live on forever, despite significant changes that may occur after initially projected conditions. While some of the provisions seem overly generous, setting the proposed limits would be a big step forward for the county.

The proposed legislation is clear — this is specific to the CMA, not for everyday zoning and development review matters that come before the Council. For all these reasons, we urge the delegation to adopt the bill to accommodate the Council’s role and responsibility in adopting the CMA. We believe implementation of the zoning and subdivision rewrite is a tremendous improvement for the county and the community. It is a once in a generation opportunity.

Thank you for your consideration.

CSG support for Prince George’s Countywide Sectional Map Amendment

CSG Support of Prince George’s County Council advancing SMA

July 2, 2019
The Honorable Todd Turner, Chairman
Committee of the Whole
Prince George’s County Council
RE: Support for:
CB-011-2019, An Ordinance Concerning the Countywide Sectional Map Amendment;
CR-026-2019, A Resolution Concerning the Countywide Sectional Map Amendment;
CR-027-2019, A Resolution Concerning Preparation of a Countywide Sectional Map Amendment and Approval of Goals, Concepts, and Guidelines; and Public Participation Program
Dear Chair Turner and members of the committee:
Please accept these comments on behalf of the Coalition for Smarter Growth. The Coalition for Smarter Growth is the leading organization working locally in the Washington, DC metropolitan region dedicated to making the case for smart growth. Our mission is to promote walkable, inclusive, and transit-oriented communities, and the land use and transportation policies and investments needed to make those communities flourish.
We wish to express our support for initiating the countywide sectional map amendment to advance the implementation of the zoning rewrite enacted by this Council in the fall of 2018. This zoning rewrite is a significant advance for the county. We appreciate that this is an important change for the county, and we commend the level of public engagement required to implement the countywide sectional map amendment.
This change is worth the effort because it replaces the county’s current obsolete and cumbersome zoning regulations which are holding back the county. Here are some of the ways the zoning and subdivision process will improve:
  • Design and building form standards: the document establishes transit-oriented zones at the local and regional scales to support the goals of walkable urbanism, creating walkable, and bikable areas that are well-connected to transit;
  • Parking standards for urban and transit-oriented areas: the zoning rewrite reduces excessive minimum parking requirements in transit-oriented centers in order to support more multimodal designs and uses.
  • Street designs: the revisions require interconnected streets, shorter blocks, and pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. It implements newly adopted urban street design standards that support walk and bike friendly streets.
  • Transportation demand management: the regulations also establish progressive traffic reduction measures that emphasize encouraging more people to ride transit if available, bicycle, share rides and walk.
  • Ease of use: The zoning and subdivision regulations are presented in a more readable format providing tables and graphic illustrations to better understand and visualize the standards.
  • Ending perpetual approvals: The proposed rules establish limits on approvals after a number of years. Today, approvals are allowed to live on forever, despite significant changes that may occur after initially projected conditions. While some of the provisions seem overly generous, setting the proposed limits would be a big step forward for the county.
Adopt this critical reform
We believe implementation of the zoning and subdivision rewrite is a tremendous improvement for the county and the community. It is a once in a generation opportunity. We urge the Council to vote to initiate the countywide sectional map amendment process in order to keep the zoning rewrite timeline on track. The countywide sectional map amendment is the next essential step to ensuring the timely implementation of the county’s modernized zoning and subdivision regulations.
Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,
Cheryl Cort
Policy Director
CSG Support of PGC advancing SMA

Prince George’s County: New Carrollton Preliminary Transit District Development Plan and Proposed Transit District Overlay Zoning Map Amendment

Overall, we want to express our enthusiasm for the plan to recreate the New Carrollton station area as a great metropolitan center with a grand transit station as the anchor. We concur with the real estate experts panel report of the Urban Land Institute that “the first step in catalyzing development at the station area is to focus on the station itself.” Built in 1978, the station is one of the oldest in the system. The station, however, is a leading economic development asset for the county.