More voices will be heard in county zoning decisions under proposed bills

January 23, 1994|By Phyllis Brill | Phyllis Brill,Staff Writer

Though Councilwoman Theresa M. Pierno's proposal to open up the development approval process to more citizen input failed to pass the County Council last month, its supporters haven't given up.

Two more bills designed to publicize zoning information and involve citizens in reviewing development plans are before the council and will be discussed in public hearings Tuesday night.

"These bills are the minimum that Realtors and developers and landowners should be willing to do to keep development in harmony with the community," said Robert S. Wagner, a co-sponsor of the new bills with Mrs. Pierno.

Mr. Wagner, who ultimately opposed Mrs. Pierno's first community-input legislation in December as the council defeated 4-3, promised to work with her on a compromise bill that might win support from all sides, including developers.

One of the bills calls for posting color-coded land-use maps in all real estate and homebuilder offices so that potential homebuyers can see what the zoning is in the areas surrounding homes on the market.

Too often, residents don't know that a shopping center is planned for their neighborhood until the bulldozer breaks ground, Mrs. Pierno has said in promoting community involvement.

The other bill would add four new members, including a citizen appointed by the County Council, to the Development Advisory Committee, which reviews subdivision plans submitted to the county.

It also would require that notice of the advisory committee's meetings and their subject matter be advertised well in advance of the meetings in two local newspapers.

County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann introduced similar legislation to the County Council last week.

Her bill would require that current zoning maps be posted in all Harford County libraries for public use and that notice of development proposals be published in local newspapers.

That bill will not be discussed in a public hearing until Feb. 15.

Mr. Wagner thinks that the council bill, which is also being sponsored by council President Jeffrey D. Wilson and Councilwoman Susan B. Heselton, will, with a proposed amendment to include libraries as sites for map postings, be amenable to all concerned.

"There's nothing in these two bills that anybody could complain about," he said. "The administration, in theory, doesn't have a problem with these bills. We all agree on what should be done."

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