Positions: Natural Resources

NATURAL RESOURCES

LAND USE, PLANNING AND ZONING

Support for:

 1.      an effective planning organization, professionally staffed with clear assignments and adequately financed, to meet future needs.

 2.      zoning controls to utilize land effectively for the benefit of all. (Study, 1963)

 3.      non-residential uses adjacent to residential uses, if carefully regulated to prevent all manner of nuisances, with buffer strips of reasonable size for sufficient screening.

 4.      a building code to ensure safe, durable construction, particularly for apartments and attached dwellings; uniform building standards for rental and sale property. (1965)

 5.      strong controls on pollution, signs, and clutter.

 6.      separate legal counsel, an expert in zoning laws, for the Planning Department and the Planning Board to research and prepare legal documents to ensure that all facts are brought into the record at zoning hearings. (1966)

 7.      cycle zoning with an emergency provision whereby the time for submission for zoning petitions is limited.

 8.      retention of decision-making powers on zoning by elected officials to maintain accountability to citizens. (1974, 2009)

 9.      development and implementation of master plans for unique communities within the county.

10.     A General Plan defined Planned Service Area for public water and sewer service that is only changed outside the General Plan adoption cycle for health and safety reasons. (2007)

11.     Walkable/bikeable communities that encourage and sustain connectiveness, health, safety and convenience. (2007)

12.    Preserving historic sites (2007)

  1. Incentives for property owners to maintain and restore the historic resource including tax credits; federal, state and local.

  2. Government to be involved in the preservation of historic sites utilizing

     tools to provide protection for historic resources such as

    1. A county historic preservation plan

    2. A periodically updated comprehensive inventory of historically significant sites

    3. Site specific economic incentives

    4. Acquisitions and holding title to historic sites.

    5. Restoration and resources

    6. Inspection of historic inventoried sites to reduce demolition by neglect

NOTE:  No consensus was reached regarding subdivision requirements for site size and setbacks to maintain the context of the historic site.

13.    Environmental and sustainable balance in developing property including the protection/restoration of habitat and natural resources through the use of the following tools:

    a.  Professional staff with environmental expertise, environmental protection regulations and policies, clear lines of environmental review, green building requirements, on-site inspections pre-, during- and post-construction for environmental compliance. (2007)

14.    Creating better government structure to ensure environmental quality with the goals of continuity, review, communication and enforcement. (2007)

15.        Growth Management measures that include:

          a.    a growth cap which controls the pace of private development when public services are inadequate.

          b.   an adequate public facilities ordinance which defers new development until essential public facilities, which meet established capacity standards, are available to service the development.  Essential facilities are water, sewerage, schools, and roads.

c.    impact fees as a means of funding some of the capital costs incurred when new development occurs.

d.    developer-provided sites and/or public facilities which meet county-set standards for acceptability.

          e.    agriculture as a preferred land use in the rural areas of the county.  (1991)

          f.    provisions for clustering in rural areas through legal mechanisms that would:

    1. maintain “remainders” as open land in perpetuity, by such methods as turning over “remainders” to a third party like an environmental trust;

    2. require “remainders” to be of reasonable size and quality. (1991)

          g.    clustering in rural areas of Howard County but with no increase in residential densities above existing zoning allowances (1990); a scale of clustering that is consistent with protection of the environment. (1991)

i.   a Howard County planning and zoning process that:

        a.    allows sufficient time for all interested parties to consider the issues thoroughly.

        b.     provides appropriate public safeguards in comprehensive and piecemeal zoning cases, such as due process, rules of evidence, and appeal to the courts.

        c.    provides opportunities for public participation through a sufficient number of public notices. (1994)

RECREATION AND PARKS

Support for:

1.      accelerated acquisition of land for recreation and parks to approximate the goal of 35 acres per 1,000 population.

2.      programs and facilities accessible to and meeting the needs of a changing and diverse population and that include:

        a.    frequent evaluation of programs,

        b.    ongoing needs assessment,

        c.    active pursuit of community input and participation in planning facilities and programs.

3.      a definition of open space, consistent in all county documents, which includes provisions for active recreation, passive recreation, and environmental protection as well as county standards for the acceptability of dedicated open space.

4.      cooperation and/or coordination with all other county departments in recognition of their interdependence. (Study 1973, 1974, reaffirmed 1990)

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