Montgomery County's residents have spoken up about the county's ambitious Zoning Rewrite Project, and county planners have listened.
After planners released a consolidated draft of the county's revised zoning code last July, residents submitted comments—online and in public hearings. Those comments have been taken into consideration in a new staff draft for the project, which will be discussed with the Montgomery County Planning Board in a work session at the board's weekly meeting on Thursday, Feb. 7. The work session is slated to start at 4:30 p.m. and end at 6 p.m., according to the agenda.
Parking will be one of the issues discussed at the Feb. 7 work session. (Remaining issues will be discussed at the final work session, on Feb. 14 from 4 to 5 p.m.)
"The zoning rewrite draft would require developers to provide less parking and would encourage structured, rather than surface, lots" to balance parking lot size with development size—a balance often out-of-kilter in strip shopping malls in the county, Montgomery County Planning Board Member Casey Anderson explained in the planning department's December 2012 Montgomery Plans cable show.
Reducing the size of surface parking lots also can help in reducing stormwater runoff and groundwater pollution, Anderson added.
The new zoning code is intended "to modernize antiquated, redundant zoning regulations ... [and to] rethink 1950s-era commercial strips and office parks," the department stated in July. The code has not been rewritten since 1977, and is currently about 1,200 pages long.
"No one should have a zoning ordinance that big, and it's not helping us do our planning and zoning work," Montgomery County Planning Board Chair Francoise Carrier said in the planning department's December 2012 Montgomery Plans cable show.
Carrier added that "this zoning rewrite ordinance is going to give us a tool that will really help us ... to manage development in the county, to do good planning for the county, to really give us the kind of development that we want in the places where it makes the most sense."
The revised zoning code "will cover what’s permitted in each zone, how one can build, and the process by which development is reviewed and approved," according the the project website.
The project website adds that, in the draft, planners propose to:
- Reduce or consolidate 123 existing zones into 30 proposed zones.
- Ensure consistency with existing height and density rules.
- Retain consistency with recommendations in each community master plan.
- Make the code easier to use by adding diagrams and clearer text.
What are your biggest concerns with the proposed zoning code? What do you want to see it address? Tell us in the comments.
See More on Patch
- Top Maryland Headlines: Twitter Trouble, House of Cards in MD, First Lady Inspires
- Purple Line, Bus Rapid Transit, Increased Parking Fees Up for Discussion
- Rockville Pike Dedicated Bus Lane Proposal Heads Back to Planning Board
- Top Maryland News: Near Miss for Baby in Stroller, New Law for Sex Offenders, Casinos Strike it Rich
- Top Maryland News: New Law for Sex Offenders, Casinos Strike it Rich, Near Miss for Baby in Stroller