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Prince George’s County Moves Closer to Implementing Plan 2035

The Prince George’s County Council moved another step closer to implementing Plan 2035, the County’s general plan, after adopting new zoning and subdivision ordinances and creating a countywide map amendment process.

The ordinances are intended to implement the long-range vision of Plan 2035, which includes focusing growth in eight Regional Transit Districts, and to simplify the existing codes. For example, the current zoning ordinance includes more than 70 different zones, 30 of which were enacted to facilitate mixed-use development. In contrast, the newly adopted zoning ordinance includes only 30 zones, approximately seven of which would facilitate mixed-use development.

Once the County adopts the countywide map amendment, it can implement the new ordinances.

Implementation of New Zoning and Subdivision Laws

Late last year, the Prince George’s County Council adopted a new zoning ordinance, CB-13-2018, and subdivision ordinance, CB-15-18.

The ordinances are intended to “streamline procedures, reduce obstacles to achieving the economic development goals of the County, enhance utility and user friendliness, encourage appropriate input into the development review process, consolidate and simplify zones, and incentivize development at targeted growth locations,” according to the Council.

The Countywide Map Amendment Process

The Council also adopted CB-14-2018 in order to create a Countywide Map Amendment process.

The Countywide Map Amendment process will facilitate the implementation of the new zones created by the new zoning ordinance. Generally, the countywide map amendment process takes 15 to 18 months from the date of initiation.

When Will This Happen?

It is anticipated that the Countywide Map Amendment process will be initiated at the end of the first quarter/beginning of second quarter of 2019. If the process begins in this timeframe, then it will likely conclude by the third quarter/beginning of fourth quarter of 2020.

It is unclear whether the Prince George’s County Council will implement the new zones immediately upon the completion of the Countywide Map Amendment process, or whether it will implement the new zones after a certain amount of time.

Transparency in the Zoning Process

All properties in Prince George’s County will be rezoned through the Countywide Map Amendment process. The vast majority of the properties will move from the current zone for the property to the most similar zone established by the new Zoning Ordinance. In order to make the Countywide Map Amendment process as transparent as possible, staff intends to create a zoning “decision matrix.”

For select properties currently zoned M-U-I or located in designated Centers, the Countywide Map Amendment process may present an opportunity for property owners to request a zone different from that which the decision matrix may recommend. These property specific requests must come within 60 days following the initiation of the Countywide Map Amendment process. The Planning Board will establish the form for submitting property-specific requests.

Chris Hatcher is a land use attorney well versed in the regulatory and political processes in Prince George’s County. For more, contact him at 301-657-0153 or clhatcher@lerchearly.com.

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