HC Initial-small-grey Development Regulations Assessment

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November Public Meetings

 Clarion Associates returned for another round of public meetings on November 28th and 29th. Click here to view the presentation. Click here to view the Columbia/New Town focused presentation.

Project Description

At the request of County Executive Allan H. Kittleman, Howard County Planning and Zoning (DPZ) has begun a Development Regulation Assessment, to include review of the zoning code, as well as regulations, policies and manuals related to land development.  The project will occur in two phases: phase I is an assessment of the development regulations and phase II is the drafting of a new unified development code or sets of codes. Clarion Associates, a national land use-consulting firm based in Denver, has been retained as the county’s consultant for phase I of this project. Clarion will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the current regulations and provide an outline for new zoning, subdivision, and land development regulations based on public and stakeholder input, technical analysis, and national best practices. To further enhance public input, The County Executive appointed a 13 person steering committee to serve as a sounding board for ideas and to provide feedback on assessment drafts.

Over the next 12 -14 months, Clarion Associates will work with DPZ to:

      1. Conduct extensive outreach to identify which parts of the zoning and subdivision controls are working well – and which are not.
        1. Draft a Diagnosis and Annotated Outline document recommending how the revised land controls could be organized to improve user-friendliness.
        2. Conduct a second round of engagement with citizens and stakeholders to hear reactions to the Diagnosis and Annotated Outline and recommendations related to it.    

        The Diagnosis and Annotated Outline will serve as a general “roadmap” for phase II- redrafting the zoning and subdivision controls. It will also guide the development of a phase II Request for Proposals (RFP) to be released in 2018.

        A general phase I timeline is shown below. This timeline may be changed as the project proceeds and the time required for each step becomes clearer.

        Scope of Work

        Task 1: Document Review

        Clarion Associates will begin by reviewing all relevant documents related to land use regulation in Howard County including but not limited to:

        • PlanHoward 2030
        • Zoning Regulations and Zoning Map
        • Subdivision and Land Development Regulations
        • Any freestanding design regulations or guideline documents applicable to certain areas of the County or types of development
        • Any existing lists of problem areas for interpretation and administration prepared by staff or code users
        • Records related to special approvals, variances/ and adjustments granted in the past; and
        • Administrative manuals and policies related to zoning and subdivision.

        Based on this review, Clarion will prepare a list of questions related to the current structure and operation of land development regulations for further discussion with staff and code users.

        Task 2: Outreach and Public Engagement  

        • Meetings with DPZ and other County staff
        • Interviews with stakeholder and elected officials
        • Public meetings to solicit comments about the current system and improvements
        • On-line surveys: one tailored for staff and other frequent users and another for the general public

        Task 3: Diagnosis and Annotated Outline

        Based on tasks 1 and 2, technical analysis and best practices the outline will include recommendations for:

        • Changes to the current materials
        • Addition of new materials
        • Consideration of a possible Unified Development Ordinance
        • Guidance for Phase II RFP

        Citizen Engagement Plan

        The Citizen Engagement Strategy for Phase I has four key objectives:

        • To solicit input from the stakeholders who use the Zoning, Subdivision and Land Development Regulations and related documents regarding the strengths and weaknesses of those documents and how best to improve them in a new Land Development Code;

        • To solicit input from community residents and property owners who may be affected by potential changes in the development regulations, including those who may be less conversant with zoning code issues;

        • To inform and educate stakeholders and citizens about emerging practices and zoning and subdivision regulations that may improve the county’s ability to achieve its planning goals; and

        • To ensure that citizens, stakeholders, code users, public officials, appointed and elected officials have a variety of conduits to convey their input to the County and the Clarion Team.

         Click here to read full plan.

        Steering Committee
          • Jane Dembner
          • Susan Garber
          • Steve Hunt
          • Grace Kubofcik
          • Joan Lancos
          • Jun Lee
          • Dick Lombardo
          • Ted Mariani
          • Lisa Markovitz
          • Lynn Moore
          • Drew Roth
          • Cole Schnorf
          • Paul Skalny

          Appointed by Executive Order 2017-03

          Steering Committee Meeting Minutes:
          March 29th | July 24th

        Staff Contact

        Amy Gowan



        Project Timeline


        Phase 1 Timeline Graphic