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February 25, 2004 Minutes

Prince George’s County Delegation

Bi-County Committee Meeting

February 25, 2004

9:00 a.m.

LHOB 203

 

Minutes

 

 

Committee Attendees: Del. Niemann, Chair; Del. Kelley, Vice-Chair; Del. Brown, Del. Gaines, Del. Holmes, Del. Menes, Del. Ross and Del. Vaughn

Other: Adrian Gardiner, Counsel, MNPPC; Mayor Steve Brayman, College Park; Pro Tem Mayor Rodney Roberts, Greenbelt; Mayor Fred Robinson, Bowie; Mayor Patti Dennison, Berwyn Heights; Marva Jo Camp, Prince George’s County.

 

 

Del. Niemann opened the meeting at 9:10 a.m. After giving an overview of the agenda he invited the proponent municipalities to speak.

 

Proponents

Mayor Steve Brayman, College Park – Mayor Brayman said he had been given a statement of opposition to the bill, which indicated the bill would hinder development. Mayor Brayman stated the opposite was true. He said the three proponent municipalities had partnered on projects, which only helped the County. He stated that smaller municipalities were also in support.

 

Pro Tem Mayor Rodney Roberts, Greenbelt – He gave an example of Capital Office Park as a positive example of public-private development partnership. He stressed the municipalities’ abilities to do good planning.

 

Mayor Fred Robinson, Bowie – Mayor Robinson also spoke in favor of the bill and presented Bowie Town Center as another good example of public private planning partnership.

 

Opponents

Adrian Gardiner, MNCPPC – Mr. Gardiner said the bill as written was problematic. He said existing law already had provisions for local design standards. As written, the bill would have negative consequences because the changes were not minor ones. He detailed the importance of keeping conceptual and detailed site plan powers at the regional level and that this was in actuality part of zoning and that zoning is tied to regional planning. Prince George’s County has chartered a zoning task force. He also said special exception applications would overwhelm municipalities and that this work was better handled by existing staff.

 

Local Rights of Way- Mr. Gardiner said this provision was illegal as it would allow the District Council to delegate the authority to vacate these rights to a municipality and that the District Council has no subdivision authority.

 

MOU – Mr. Gardiner said the lack of a provision of an MOU in the bill was another problem and urged the Committee to wait on voting on this bill.

 

Del. Niemann asked Mr. Gardiner to explain how the provisions were illegal.  Mr. Gardiner replied that the right-of-way process was currently restricted to the subdivision process. Del. Niemann asked if the clause regarding the District Council’s authority in the bill was illegal. Mr. Gardiner replied that it was, that the District Council had no authority, so that clause was meaningless.

Marva Jo Camp added that what the municipalities considered as being good for them would not necessarily be good for the region. She said proponents claimed there would be no impact on the County and she disagreed, indicating that transportation would be impacted. She said it was the County’s role to represent the residents at the local level as land use representatives and that municipalities already had a major influence on planning. She said the zoning task force was designed look at the process and she urged the Committee to let that process happen and then open a discourse.

 

Mayor Patti Dennison of Berwyn Heights spoke in favor of the bill, saying that the bill would only enable municipalities.

 

Pat McAuley, Town Clerk for Bladensburg brought a letter of support for the bill from Mayor McGrory.

 

Del. Niemann gave a summary of the bill and asked for discussion.

 

Del. Brown asked for a special order, as he wanted to be able to submit an amendment. He said he supported the bill last year, but the provisions concerning conceptual and detailed site plans needed change. Del. Niemann said it would be up to the body to make that decision.

 

Del. Brown said delegating authority would create havoc in the transit overlay zones, which often requires rezoning that municipal bodies cannot do. He said he approved limited detailed site plan approval, as most did not require rezoning.

 

Del. Niemann asked for questions and comments.

 

Del. Menes said this was a whole new concept and the amendment would create a week’s delay. She wants to move this bill forward and asked for municipalities to comment on the delay.

 

Del. Brown said the amendment could fail, but that he would work with the municipalities to draft the amendment.

 

Del. Niemann said he wanted the amendment done in time for review and analysis for next week’s meeting. Del. Brown said the amendment would be done by Friday.

 

The motion was made to special order the bill for 8 a.m. on March 3, and the motion carried, with Del. Menes abstaining.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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