The hallmark responsibility of the Council is legislating for land-use. One of the tools we have is the Comprehensive Zoning and Map Process, or CZMP. This county process comes along every 4 years, with the most recent session concluding on August 25, 2020. During that special session of the Council, zoning maps were redrawn for the next 4 years. Our district had a few notable properties which garnered most of the attention of the public.
The 2020 CZMP began in August 2019 with a 45 day window in which county residents, business owners and other interested parties could file issues on particular properties. Typically, business owners will file issues on their own properties with some type of future plan in mind for a change or expansion of current use.
In other cases, community association groups will file issues with an intent to protect or preserve a community from overdevelopment or to help shape the identity of a neighborhood.
Following the closure of the public period for submission is the 30 day window where the county’s Planning Board may enter their issues across the county. Typically these are very few, we only had one in our district. Similarly to community associations, the Planning board may choose to enter an issue to help guide a neighborhood towards better economic or environmental conditions as outlined by county planning guidelines.
Finally, each Council member gets a turn to input issues in attempts to influence the economy, open space and preserve land. Once all issues are in, they are recorded and larger process begins. During March and April, the Planning Board and Planning Department reviewed all issues and made their recommendations. The Council receives these recommendations and we begin our hearings in June with the final vote in August.
My decisions on the 27 issues raised in district 7 were consistent with my past decisions on other things which encouraged economic growth and protected open space. Two notable issues were the Fort Howard property, and the large piece of land on Willow Spring Rd where Montebello brands still does business. On both accounts I chose again to protect the community and deny their requests for zoning changes.