Arundel council to hear views on new zoning map

Changes in northern, western districts follow development plan

April 18, 2011|By Arthur Hirsch, The Baltimore Sun

The Anne Arundel County Council will hold a hearing Tuesday on zoning changes in two districts where a new countywide development plan recommends making more land available for homes and businesses.

The council will consider public opinion on zoning changes sought in Council District 1, from Jessup to Brooklyn Park, and Council District 4, from Millersville to Laurel. These are the first two of seven districts to go through a process expected to take much of this year.

Council Chairman Richard Ladd said the panel will hear views on nine amendments proposed to the zoning changes but probably will not vote on the rezoning until next month.

Planning and Zoning Officer Larry R. Tom said the general shift of changes in these districts is "to commercial from residential, from lower density to higher density" in sections designated as growth areas.

For instance, one vacant lot near Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport that now is zoned for single-family homes on lots of nearly one acre would be changed to light industrial zoning.

Tom's agency recommended the change because the land is next to two airport hotels, has road access only through the hotel land and would be suitable for hotels or offices.

A property in Severn would be changed from zoning for five living units per acre to 15 per acre, as the planning and zoning department said this would suit the apartment zoning next to it, and "provide additional opportunity for multifamily housing."

In some cases, however, planners recommended against more intensive development if it did not seem to fit the immediate surroundings.

Planners recommend no change, for example, to the zoning of a wooded property in Odenton where the applicant for the change wanted permission to build more than one house per five acres.

Notes on a chart listing the rezoning applications show that planners objected because the land is in a larger area set aside for low-density development, and there was not "sufficient basis to upzone the parcel."

Tom said his agency recommended 34 of 50 applications in District 1, and 32 of 41 in District 4.

The two districts are included in the first of three bills that will cover the seven council districts. The legislation being considered in Tuesday night's regular council meeting is part of a comprehensive rezoning process that began in 2009.

The county received about 355 applications from owners or developers during a three-month window.

The council is also to consider a measure raising water and sewer charges 5 percent. Water rates would jump 12 cents, from $2.44 to $2.56 per thousand gallons; wastewater rates would rise 21 cents, from $4.28 to $4.49 per thousand gallons.

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