Wanted: citizen planners Anne Arundel County: Small area plans give residents a say in their future.

December 01, 1997

COUNTY RESIDENTS unhappy with past development in their communities should welcome a new opportunity to participate in future development. As part of the continuing General Development Plan process, county officials are looking for citizen participation in 16 "small area" plans that will provide the guidelines for communities from Shady Side to Brooklyn Park.

The recently approved GDP sets policies for future development countywide; the small area plans, in contrast, will establish the specific land use and zoning plans for communities and neighborhoods. County officials want to ensure that future development is done in a way to protect, not just the interest of the county at large, but the interests of the local communities where buildings and public improvements will be placed.

The small area plans will provide detail that isn't appropriate in the GDP. For example, the GDP names Odenton as a town center, but the small area plan will determine which parcels of land within Odenton will be developed with mixed business and residential uses.

Under the proposed schedule, the small area planning process will take three years. Six communities -- Crofton, Crownsville, Annapolis Neck, Edgewater/Mayo, Severna Park and Broadneck -- will be the first ones to go through this process. The six-step procedure begins with a review of existing conditions, identifies trends, develops long-range goals and visions and ends with a plan that will presented to the community.

Fifteen local residents and business owners will serve on each of the committees. People interested in participating in this important process have until Dec. 31 to submit their applications, which can be obtained in local public libraries or by calling 410-222-7582. County Executive John Gary will appoint the members from those submitting applications.

Those chosen to serve on the committees will have ample opportunity to participate in forums, focus groups and community meetings. They will have a significant say in what the county looks like a generation from now. County planners are genuinely interested in developing proposals that reflect the desires of the people who live in work in Anne Arundel's communities.

Pub Date: 12/01/97

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