Changes To Zoning Powers of the County Council Under Consideration
I am writing to inform you of an important and time-sensitive topic regarding the County Council’s power over zoning matters.
As you may already know, zoning is the legal power of the government to regulate the use of private property for the purpose of protecting public health, safety, and welfare. In Prince George’s County, this power is delegated to, and exercised by, the County Council, sitting as the District Council. The link between planning and zoning is critical.
Currently, there are two bills before the County Council that would significantly change the Council’s ability to be responsive to the community’s concerns regarding zoning:
• CB-91-2022 will amend the Zoning Ordinance rules for enacting amendments to the Zoning Ordinance to require a supermajority vote (8 votes) instead of the longstanding simple majority (6 votes). For years, the Council has governed using a simple majority. Efforts to make zoning amendments harder to pass with a supermajority would threaten the Council’s ability to be responsive to community concerns.
• 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. 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. This would significantly cut out the public from the Zoning Process.
I am deeply concerned by these bills. These bills are scheduled to be heard before the Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee tomorrow, Thursday, September 15th. I encourage all residents to voice their concerns during this meeting.
If you are interested in testifying or submitting public comments regarding these pieces of legislation, you must sign up to do so before 3 PM today, Wednesday, September 14th.
CLICK HERE to sign up to testify or submit public comment on CB-91-2022 and CB-92-2022.
If you need assistance navigating the sign-up process, contact our office at 301-952-3860 and we can provide assistance.
Edward Burroughs III
Prince George’s County Council, District 8
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