Rural Prince George’s threatened by zoning changes

Rural Prince George’s threatened by zoning changes

RURAL AREAS OF OUR COUNTY – UNDER THREAT FROM ZONING REWRITE

Warning: The Prince George’s County Council will soon vote on three bills that could have a devastating impact on the county’s protected rural areas. Current rural and agricultural zones are shown on the map (p. 2).

• CB-013-2018 Proposed Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance Rewrite
• CB-014-2018 Proposed Countywide Comprehensive Map Amendment Process
• CB-015-2018 Proposed Comprehensive Subdivision Regulations Rewrite

The bills, in their current form, will threaten the character and ecological value of rural lands by giving developers new and streamlined opportunities to carve up our rural/agricultural areas.
How will these bills affect your land and vicinity? See details below and bring your concerns and questions to the Council’s hearings and sessions.

JULY 10, 2018
6:30 pm: Review bills in lobby
7:00 pm: Public comment in council hearing room

JULY 11, 2018
1:30 PM: Room 2027. Staff and agency comment on a revised county-wide zoning map, new zoning categories, and how the land uses allowed in the different zones.

JULY 17, 2018
2:00 pm. Review bills in room 2027
2:30 pm. Public comment in room 2027


SO, WHAT’S THE CONCERN?

CB 13-2018 allows for a major rezoning of these rural/ag preservation areas. The current zoning allows for 5-acre detached residential units and larger areas for farm, open space and recreational areas. However, the bill contains several provisions that would expand the land subject to development with greatly increased numbers of homes. We won’t know the full extent of the bill’s impact until we know its final form. And we won’t know how it will affect the rural/ag areas until the map is finalized, sometime before October 23, 2018.

The actions of the Council will not only affect our forests and farmlands, but also its impact on key issues such as traffic loads, and the demands of public services including police and fire departments. Would the rezoning allow extension of sewer and water lines into the current rural/ag zones?

For the county’s publicly available information go to the Zoning Rewrite Portal. (https://pgccouncil.us/589/Zoning-Ordinance-Rewrite-Portal)

ZONES AFFECTING “RURAL TIER”: CB-13-2018, lists 3 e zones are listed under a “base zone” designated as “Rural and Agricultural Base Zones.”

a. Ag/Preservation Zone (AG): Development allowed in the AG Zone includes resource protection, agriculture and forestry uses, agriculture and forestry-related uses, single-family detached dwellings, animal care, group living, recreation and entertainment, visitor accommodation, resource extraction and supporting public facilities, consistent with the zone’s open and rural character.

• Detached single family units with a minimum lot-size of 5 acres.
• Resource extraction requires a special zoning exception.

b. Agriculture-Residential Zone (AR): Development allowed in the AR Zone includes agriculture and forestry uses, agriculture and forestry-related uses, single-family detached dwellings, animal care, group living, recreation and entertainment, visitor accommodation, resource extraction and supporting public facilities, consistent with the zone’s agricultural residential character.

• Single-family detached dwellings on lots with a minimum of 2 acres in area, or within conservation subdivisions that respect the natural features of the land and are designed to conform to the agricultural residential character of the zone.

• Resource extraction requires a special zoning exception.

c. Reserved Open Space Zone (ROS): ROS is the most protective of the zones in the Development allowed includes resource protection, agriculture and forestry-related uses, single-family detached dwellings, visitor accommodation, and supporting public facilities, consistent with the zone’s primary purpose of preserving significant environmental features and maintaining the open and rural character. Single-family detached dwellings and limited group living uses are permitted to accommodate existing households. Minimum lot size is 20 acres.

Certain residential developments would be allowed under the “Residential Base Zone” category; it is not clear whether these areas would be in current Rural/Ag Base Zone or elsewhere.

a. Residential Estate Zone (RE): The purpose of the Residential Estate (RE) Zone is to provide lands that allow for low-density, single-family detached dwellings on lots 40,000 square feet or more in area that may be developed in conjunction with rural uses in the form of subdivisions that:

Development allowed in the RE Zone includes single-family detached dwellings, agriculture and forestry uses, agriculture and forestry-related uses, group living, animal care, community service, recreation and entertainment, visitor accommodation, and resource extraction uses consistent with the zone’s rural estate character; and supporting public facilities.

• For single family dwellings is 40,000 square feet. An acre is about 43,000 ft2.
• Minimum Lot Size for agricultural uses is 2 acres

b. Rural Residential (RR): The Residential, Rural (RR) Zone would allow single-family detached dwellings on lots 20,000 square feet (half-acre) or more in area that may be developed in conjunction with rural uses in the form of subdivisions that:

Development allowed in the RR Zone includes single-family detached and two-family dwellings, agriculture and forestry uses, agriculture and forestry-related uses, group living, animal care, community service, recreation and entertainment, visitor accommodation, and resource extraction uses consistent with the zone’s Residential, Rural character, and supporting public facilities.

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