Tuesday, April 1, 2008

FW: ZRA Batching Bill Streamlines Zoning Regulation AmendmentProcess

Dear PELU Task Force Members:


Councilperson Courtney Watson has introduced a new bill relating to the filing of Zoning Regulation Amendments (ZRA’s).  The bill is scheduled for a public hearing on April 22, 2008 at 7:30 pm in the Bannecker room of the George Howard office building.  Ms. Watson has requested review and comment of the proposed legislation by the task force.  Please post your comments to the blog site or email them to me or James Howard directly.


-----Original Message-----
Courtney Watson [mailto:CWatson@howardcountymd.gov]
: Thursday, March 27, 2008 2:24 PM
Courtney Watson
Subject: ZRA Batching Bill Streamlines Zoning Regulation AmendmentProcess


Dear Resident,


I am pleased to share with you a copy of a bill that I have pre-filed today for April introduction at the County Council. This bill affects zoning regulation amendments commonly referred to as ZRAs.  ZRAs sometimes result in positive changes for zoning categories but at other times are attempts to rezone a single property outside the ‘change or mistake’ standard required by the Zoning Board.  
The County Council is the final authority on approval of ZRAs and we sometimes feel besieged by the number and complexity of the ZRAs, particularly when they occur randomly amidst all our other legislative work.  Citizens and citizen groups also find the process difficult to manage.  In order to help citizens and legislators better track the changes brought on by ZRAs, this bill would require that ZRA petitions from developers and/or landowners be introduced at two designated times within the year.  This will allow the Dept. of Planning and Zoning to more efficiently handle the technical staff report requirements and for the Planning Board and the County Council to focus their attention on regulation changes.
Further, batching the ZRA requests will allow citizen groups such as the League of Women Voters, HCCA, GECA, St. Johns’ Neighborhood Association, Friends of Font Hill, the Columbia Association, and the general citizenry to know exactly when potential changes to zoning are being proposed by developers and landowners, so citizen input is increased and transparency in zoning changes improved. 
The public hearing on this bill will be held on Tuesday, April 22, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. in the Banneker Room of the George Howard Building.*  As always, I welcome your input on this issue.  Please contact me by phone or email with comments or questions.   



Courtney Watson
Chairperson - Howard County Council
District 1 Representative
410/313-3297 fax


*Electronic sign up is available for County Council public hearings:    http://www.co.ho.md.us/CountyCouncil/CC_GiveTestimonySignup.asp

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