At-Large Council Members act to strip new Council Majority of zoning powers 

This past Tuesday, Council Chair Hawkins and Council Member Franklin presented two bills they hope will prevent the incoming Council Majority from enacting positive, community-centered zoning legislation or hearing most zoning cases. 

Their bill, CB-91-2022 will amend the new Zoning Ordinance rules for enacting amendments to the Zoning Ordinance so as to require a Supermajority vote (8 votes) instead of the longstanding simple majority (6 votes). Hawkins and Franklin, in collaboration with other Council Members, have adopted countless developer-friendly amendments to the Zoning Ordinance based on a simple majority vote. Now, they want to change the rules for an incoming Council Majority that they know will be accountable to the community instead of developers. 

CB-92-2022 will amend the new Zoning Ordinance to prohibit the County Council from choosing to hear zoning and site plan cases from the Planning Board and Zoning Hearing Examiner. For decades, zoning hearings have been a vehicle for the community to express their concerns. If enacted, there will be no hearings for the community, and only appeals will come before the council in limited circumstances. Developers have long wanted to eliminate public hearings to avoid accountability. In another anti-democratic move regularly used by Hawkins and Franklin, CB-91-2022 & CB-92-2022 are being rushed through the legislative process to avoid public awareness and scrutiny. ALL Zoning Bills must be “Introduced” by Tuesday, September 20th. These bills were presented Tuesday and have to be heard by the “PHED Committee”, next week. The September 15th Committee meeting has been announced, giving only 7 days’ notice for major land use policy changes that will dramatically harm citizen rights. This committee’s members include current Council Members Mel Franklin, Calvin Hawkins, Todd Turner, Sydney Harrison. Many of this group of Council Members have a track record of trying to enact legislation that favors special interests groups over community stakeholders, always without community input, sometimes illegally as recent history has shown. The lack of notice undermines the community’s ability to plan to speak out

What can we do about it?

Progressive Maryland & PG Changemakers are working together to get the word out to the community so that we can stand up to these members and let them know we oppose Council Bills 91 & 92 that seek to, once again, silence the voice and usurp the will of the voters by using our system of democracy to cater to developers and their own political power instead of their constituents. 

Sign up to testify or submit comments. The deadline to sign up to testify, submit your testimony in opposition to the bills, or send in comments is September 14, at 3 p.m. EDT. CLICK TO SIGN UP TO TESTIFY

Add your voice by signing this petition. Share it with a friend and ask them to sign and pass it along. If the former Council Majority’s failed attempt at illegal redistricting taught us anything, it is that when enough of us stand up together in solidarity and demand that our elected representatives do what’s in the best interest of the people of this County, we WIN! CLICK TO SIGN THE PETITION

Send a pre-filled email or craft one of your own to your Council Member, the County Executive, and your At-Large members to demand that they stand up for democracy in Prince George’s and stop the passage of CB-91 & CB-92! CLICK TO EMAIL YOUR COUNCIL MEMBER

Please make sure to take action immediately and to share this email. We need to share these actions far and wide so that the community has a chance to stand up against yet another egregious abuse of power. 

In Solidarity, 

The Progressive Maryland & PG Changemakers Teams 

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