Released on January 28, 2011 - 3:25pm
Jan 28
 
Mayor Craig A. Moe has announced the City of Laurel Planning Commission has completed its review of the City’s proposed Unified Land Development Code and has provided a positive recommendation to the Mayor and City Council.  Mayor Moe stated now that the Planning Commission has concluded its work, the Unified Development Code will be presented to the City Council at its March 2, Work Session for its review and study.
 
Mayor Moe said this is a monumental proposal that will simplify doing business with the City in all  areas of land development, i.e. home additions, roads and sidewalks, forest conservation, etc.  by placing all City Code requirements and regulations into one, easy-to-use document.
 
Included in this Press Release is a detailed description of the Unified Development Code.  Mayor Moe added that it has been placed in its entirety on the City’s web site, www.laurel.md.us, to allow the public to review the document.  Mayor Moe stated he anticipates public hearings will begin in late March.  He encouraged all who are interested to participate in the review process.  He asked anyone who has specific questions about the document to contact Mr. Jack Brock, Deputy Director, Department of Community Planning and Business Services, at 301-725-5300, Ext. 2313.
 
On November 26, 2007 the Mayor and City Council adopted Ordinance Number 1572, the City of Laurel Master Plan, and on September 28, 2009 adopted Ordinance Number 1647, amendments to the Master Plan, in order to comply with Maryland House Bill 1141 (2006 Session) amending Article 66B, Section 1.03 Comprehensive Plans, Annotated Code of Maryland, and House Bill 294 (2008 Session) amending Article 66B, Section 1.01 Visions, Annotated Code of Maryland.
 
The amended Master Plan cited the need to review and amend the City’s Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations, adopt new regulations to help implement the Plan’s recommendations, or streamline the development review process in order to accomplish the goals of the Master Plan.  In addition to specific regulatory improvements recommended in the Master Plan, there should be a comprehensive review and, where necessary, revision of the City’s regulations and development review process to streamline regulatory processes to facilitate appropriate development and reduce development costs.
 
The City of Laurel Planning Commission held meetings on September 14, 2010, October 4, 2010, November 9, 2010, and December 14, 2010 to review and discuss a draft Unified Land Development Code containing Zoning, Subdivision, Stormwater Management, Floodplain Management, Forest Conservation, Roads and Sidewalks, and Sewer and Sewage Disposal Regulations.  The Planning Commission held a duly advertised public hearing on January 18, 2011 to receive public input.  At the conclusion of the public hearing the Planning Commission approved the draft Unified Land Development Code and recommended that Mayor and City Council adopt the proposed Code.
 
A Unified Development Code is a land use ordinance that combines development regulations and procedures, including but not limited to zoning and subdivision codes, stormwater and floodplain management, forest conservation regulations, roads and sidewalks, and sewer and sewage disposal standards, administrative and hearing procedures, and commission and board bylaws, into a single unified code.
 
There are two new sections in the revised Code, Division 15 and 16 under Article 1 Zoning.  The first section, Division 15, is titled “Landscaping, Buffering, and Screening.”  Under the current Zoning Ordinance the Prince George’s County Landscape manual is used.  This new section provides for a “City of Laurel Landscape Manual” that establishes performance standards and guidelines for preparing landscape plans for developments within the City.
 
The second section, Division 16, is titled “Community Design Standards” which is indented to foster the use and development of land in an orderly manner with special consideration given to the appearance of the community as a result of such development.  It is recognized that the appearance of property has a direct bearing on the economic value of such property and also the economic value of adjacent and surrounding property.
 
Other changes to the Code include the consolidation of development regulations that are presently in several Chapters of the City Code into Chapter 20, format changes, updates of definition, and revised citations of the Maryland Annotated Code and Prince George’s County Code, correcting errors and inconsistencies, and ensuring the Code reflects the City’s current practices.
 
The Code streamlining is intended to results in a development code that is:
 
  • Clearly written; easier to understand.
  • Consistent; procedures and timeframes.
  • Streamlined: more concise.
  • Easier to access.
  • Save time; fewer mistakes and false starts.
  • A useful tool for developers in preparing plans and applications.
 

 

 

For Immediate Release
January 28, 2011
Contact:   James Collins, Public Information Officer
               301-725-5300, ext. 2244
                E-Mail: [email protected]

 

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