APFO

 

 

Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance review task force

Over the past 20 years, Howard County has become home to an additional 87,000 residents. The number of households in the county has risen from 96,680 in 1995 to 110,370 today. This increase has led to the construction of 21 new schools to accommodate more than 16,000 new students who have joined the Howard County Public School System over the past two decades.

The county’s population growth calls for a thorough evaluation to establish guidelines for school and road construction. As a result, County Executive Allan H. Kittleman has established a task force to examine the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO). The task force, made up of educators, parents, business owners and citizen representatives, is committed to ensuring that Howard County’s public facilities evolve in tandem with the growth of the community.
The APFO Review Task Force, headed by Diane Mikulis, former chair of the Howard County Board of Education, will determine adequate guidelines for the development of school capacity, road capacity, public transport and housing stock, with the goal of achieving long-term planning objectives.

Howard County has established an email address apfo@howardcountymd.gov for citizens to express their views about the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance. All submissions to this email address will be considered public. Only emails that contain the author’s full name and address will be reviewed. Authors should not expect a response, but we will definitely consider your concerns or suggestions.

 

Read the 2016 APFO Report

 

APFO FAQs

1. What is APFO?

The Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) is a growth management ordinance that enables the County to provide adequate public schools, roads, and other public infrastructure in a timely manner in accordance with the county’s general plan growth objectives. The APFO process is designed to direct growth to areas in the county where adequate infrastructure exists or will exist.

2. What are the APFO tests?

There are three APFO tests: 1) Allocations; 2) Schools; and, 3) Roads.  These are explained in more detail below.

3. What is the allocations test?

The general plan for Howard County, PlanHoward 2030, stipulates how many housing units can be built annually in the county. Each housing unit equals one allocation. Once housing unit allocations are used up for the year, all plans for future homes are placed on hold until more allocations become available the following year. These annual allocations are designed to help pace residential development so the county can plan, fund, and build new capital facilities such as schools, fire and police stations, libraries, senior centers, and parks necessary to accommodate the new growth.

4. How are allocations distributed?

Housing unit allocations are currently distributed among five geographic categories: Growth & Revitalization; Established Communities; Rural West; Downtown Columbia; and, Green Neighborhoods.

5. What is the Schools Test?

Once allocations are granted for a project, the project must then take the Schools Test. In order to pass this test, the elementary and middle school districts and the elementary school region serving the proposed development must all be below 115% of capacity utilization. If the project does not pass this test, then plans for the development will be placed on hold. Projects are re-tested each July after a new capacity utilization chart is adopted by the County Council.  Projects can be placed on hold due to failing the Schools Test for up to four years.

6. What is an elementary school region?

An elementary school region is a geographic grouping of elementary schools.  There are five regions:  Columbia East; Columbia West; Northeast; North; Southeast; and West.

7. What does capacity utilization mean and how is it determined?

Capacity utilization is the comparison of a facility’s program capacity and its enrollment. If the enrollment equals the capacity, then the capacity utilization is 100%. The Howard County Public School System calculates program capacity differently for elementary, middle, and high schools.  Methodologies by school type are as follows:

  • Elementary School:  22 students for each Kindergarten classroom; 19 students for each classroom in Grades 1 and 2; and, 25 students for each classroom in Grades 3–5;
  • Middle School:  95 percent of the total number of teaching stations multiplied by 20.5 students, exclusive of special education classrooms;
  • High School:  either 80 or 85 percent of the total number of teaching stations multiplied by 25 students, exclusive of special education and special use classrooms.

It is important to note that the State of Maryland and local jurisdictions can determine capacity differently.  The State’s formula, referred to as state-rated capacity, is the number of students that an individual school has the physical capacity to enroll, per the Interagency Committee on School Construction (IAC). The IAC determines this number using a formula for the number of students per classroom, typically on a per grade, or grade range, basis.  


8. How often is capacity utilization updated?

Each year, the Howard County Public School System prepares and approves new capacity utilization levels by school (referred to as the ‘Open/Closed Chart’), which is approved by the Howard County Council.

9. What is the Roads Test?

Traffic studies are required for all major subdivisions.  These studies determine any traffic impacts from the proposed project, and the developer must mitigate the impact. For example, developers may be required to add a turn lane to a road leading up to the subdivision or may be required to signalize an intersection in a different way. These traffic improvements are paid for by the developer, and the project will not be approved until there is an agreement and surety bonds in place requiring the specified traffic improvements. 
Past Meetings

March 9, 2016


February 10, 2016

AGENDA

Meeting summary

Vote tally summary

January 27, 2016

AGENDA

Meeting summary

Vote tally summary

January 13, 2016

AGENDA
Department of Fire and Rescue Services memo from Chief Butler 
Meeting summary
Vote tally summary
 

December 22

AGENDA
meeting summary
vote tally summary

December 16

AGENDA  
Meeting Minutes
Voting Tally

December 15

 
AGENDA

Meeting summary 
Building excise tax and public schools facilities surcharge code and revenue

December 9

 
AGENDA
Howard County Design Manual Grade Separation provision
Meeting summary
Vote tally summary

December 2

AGENDA
Meeting summary
Vote tally summary

November 18

 
 
AGENDA
Waiver petitions presentation
Designated place types map
Waiver petitions brochure
Subdivision regulations section on waivers
Voting summary
Meeting summary 

November 10

 
AGENDA

Meeting summary
Vote tally summary

November 4

AGENDA

DPZ APFO responses

HCPSS schools test information

Maryland counties' APFO Fire and EMS References  

Meeting summary

Vote tally summary

October 28

Task Force rules of procedure