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 This singular action is needed to repeal and replace the county’s outdated zoning code.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.
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Prince George’s County has worked for six years and spent millions of dollars to painstakingly modernize its outdated zoning code to better support transit-oriented development, and walk- and bike-friendly communities.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.
Without this legislation, Prince George’s will be stuck with outdated zoning, frustrating efforts to make zoning more understandable and preventing the county from shaping a more sustainable and competitive future.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,
Policy Director, Coalition for Smarter Growth
P.S. Click here to view our testimony and get more of the details.