Anne Arundel County planning officials released yesterday the first part of a long-awaited survey intended to produce an accurate count of vacant residential and commercial lots with an eye toward smoothing the development planning process.
"When completed, the lot inventory will give county planners a tool for forecasting residential and commercial growth and the potential impact on schools and infrastructure," said Pam Jordan, a spokeswoman for the county, in a written statement.
FOR THE RECORD - An article in Wednesday's Anne Arundel edition incorrectly described the type of lots on which Councilwoman Barbara D. Samorajczyk proposes to limit new home construction. Her bill would prevent someone from tearing down a house straddling two lots that don't meet zoning requirements and building two houses in its place. The Sun regrets the error.
The survey, produced by RESI/Atlantech Solutions Inc. at Towson University, cost the county $207,120. The consulting firm performed the first phase of the inventory survey. County planning staff members will finish it.
In a review of subdivisions created before 1987, the survey found 26,527 vacant residential lots, some of which do not meet current zoning regulations. Of those, roughly 7,798 lots are buildable today. About 7,200 lots could be developed but need subdivision permits, a process that requires public review.
The survey was initiated more than a year ago on the heels of legislation crafted to curb residential development, especially in neighborhoods where schools and roads are crowded.
Builders opposed the bills, introduced in 2001, because they feared that if adopted they would crimp the ability to build houses in popular neighborhoods. In the end, county officials offered to pay for a lot survey.
The next phase of the lot survey will focus on residential lots created after 1987. Planners also will research vacant commercial- and industrial-zoned property in the county.
County Councilwoman Barbara D. Samorajczyk, an Annapolis-area Democrat, said yesterday that she wants to plot all vacant lots on a map. On Monday, she plans to introduce revised legislation that would limit construction of new homes on lots without public water and sewer, sometimes referred to as "antiquated lots."
"These antiquated lots are being developed as fast as you can turn around," she said. "In the last four years, I'm sure we have had hundreds of them."