Over the summer, August 20th to be exact, the Maryland Court of Appeals, which is the highest court in our state, made an important ruling that significantly impacts the way zoning matters are handled in our County.
Only developers, their lawyers and legal buffs would take the time to read the full 100-page decision, and it's taken me this long to digest the case myself. I won't bore you with details of the case, but I want you to be informed on how this case impacts our participation as citizens in zoning matters.
Bottom line, as residents we have to be diligent in knowing and participating in zoning cases in our communities. Many developers want to seek waiver of the zoning laws to build their developments, and we have to be official Persons of Record and participate in those matters from the beginning. If you see the orange and white zoning hearing signs, it is probably too late.
The court in the Zimmer case stated that the County Council, siting as the District Council in zoning matters, can no longer second-guess the zoning decisions of the Planning Board when no appeals have been made. Neither can the siting Council member whose district the proposed development is located "call up" a case for additional review as commonly done in our County. In essence, once the Planning Board has made its decision, unless some grave legal error that is appealed, the District Council is powerless to overturn that decision. No public outcry to our Councilman after the fact can be heard as we were accustomed.
To stay informed of what zoning matters are in your community, sign up to receive notice by completing this form:
Register Your Community
When you get those notices in the mail or see the orange signs, register to become a Person of Record at:
Person of Record
For those of us living along the Piscataway corridor, you may have noticed a hearing sign for Firewood Unlimited, the unsightly property with chopped firewood piled "mile high" in the front and rear of the property. Please voice your opposition to the application for permanent use of property for firewood storage as the property owner did not meet the previous permit conditions in this residential area. The hearing for this application,
CNU-43620-2015 is this Thursday, November 5, 2015. The good news is that the staff is recommending disapproval of the application, but the Planning Board needs to hear from us as well.
Also along our corridor, Palisades, is a new developer that plans to develop Hyde Field with a housing stock of about 3,000 units and a small(er) commercial development. Its application numbers are:
CDP 1501 & 4-1503. Again, please register to become a Person of Record and learn the details.
Finally, a new Royal Farms is coming in Brandywine off Moore's Road and Branch Ave. Based on the popularity of the one in Camp Springs, this one will be welcomed. Here's the application number: SDC 4-535-2015 to voice your support or opposition.
Many development items need to be tracked like another natural gas pipeline proposed in Brandywine (Mattawoman Energy), Walmart's next proposed location or expansion, and additional construction at National Harbor besides MGM.
I will continue to keep you apprised of the development activity in South County as I am notified, but feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this email.
Staying engaged and keeping you informed,
Tamara Davis Brown