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Council to Discuss County’s New Zoning Laws

The Council will discuss recently released M-NCPPC Comprehensive Review Draft of the proposed new Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Regulations and Landscape Manual for public review and comment.

The M-NCPPC has requested comments be submitted by December 15, 2017, in order to be considered by staff and the consultant team prior to the presentation of a legislative draft to the County Council in early spring 2018. A countywide map amendment (zoning map) to implement the new ordinance will then follow.

The Comprehensive Review Draft represents over four years of work that included the previous release of an Evaluation and Recommendations Report and various Zoning Modules with proposed changes. Public input has been sought during the process through the M-NCPPC project website at zoningpgc.pgplanning.com. Many public meetings have been held and the City Council has provided formal comments along the way back in February last year.

Based on the public comments received, and discussions with the District Council, some initial proposals and recommendations from the consultant team have changed. Some of the key changes include:

• District Council call-up is retained
• Accessory dwelling units are not permitted in single-family zones
• Backyard chickens are not permitted in single-family zones
• Beekeeping is added as an accessory use
• Private dormitory is added as a new use and rooming house redefined
• Urban agriculture is more clearly defined
• Recognizes existing authority and role of municipalities
• Revises thresholds between minor and major detailed site plans to require more site plan review
• Reinstates certification on nonconforming use procedure and removes ability to substitute one nonconforming use with another
• Eliminates the term adjustment for variances and departures
• Increases requirement for off-street parking inside the beltway from 1 to 1.5 spaces.

In general, staff is supportive of the direction and substance of the Comprehensive Review Draft and views it as an overall improvement. There are several specific issues that have the potential to substantially impact College Park and need to be further explored:
• Elimination of the Development District Overlay Zone (DDOZ) and Transit District Overlay Zone (TDOZ)
• Elimination of the Mixed-Use-Infill (M-U-I) Zone.
• Transition to proposed new zoning categories
• Applicability of Neighborhood Compatibility Standards
• Shift from discretionary to administrative review of development applications
• Changes to public notice and community involvement in the development review process
• Changes to the transportation adequacy requirements at time of subdivision

The Council may also want to address other issues and concerns during the Worksession discussion.

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