Manor Lake Civic Association

Neighborhood Montgomery's Summary of New Zoning Code

Dear Neighbors,

On March 4th the County Council passed the new Zoning Code.  The vote was 7-1 (Councilmember Elrich dissenting; Councilmember Branson abstaining).  The code becomes effective on October 30, 2014.  The Council postponed action on the companion District Map Amendment (DMA) G-956 that would rezone substantial parts of the County with the new zones.  The Council will take action on the DMA in the fall around the time that the Zoning Code becomes effective. Note:  The residential zones that we have focused on—R-60 and R-90--are not a part of the DMA.  If your lot is zoned R-60, it will stay R-60, and the same is true for R-90. Any changes to the residential zones are contained in the new code, and that is why we focused on the code.

What is the take away?

The Council heard our voices and increased the protections for our neighborhoods.  While it did not make all of the changes we requested, it made changes to the provisions that would have done the greatest harm to our neighborhoods:

1. It removed the general building as an allowed building type in single-family residential zones.

2.  It put back the provisions of the current code regarding treatment of chickens and other barnyard animals in single-family residential zones.

3.  It required new development projects to satisfy any binding elements that applied to the site prior to adoption of the new code.

4.  It required Townhouse Floating (TF) zones for properties with a Residential base zone to front on a nonresidential street or to confront/abut property that is already zoned for a transitional or non-residential zone.

5. It changed the standards for floating zones such that a previously approved floating zone does not qualify as a transitional or non-residential zone, thus avoiding the “creeping” of floating zones into established neighborhoods.

6.  It reaffirmed the importance of master plan recommended major public benefits by substantially curtailing the Planning Board’s discretion to substitute other major public benefits in place of those recommended by the applicable master plan.

7.  Finally, it separated the process for adoption of the new zoning code from the process for its implementation by delaying application of the new zones until interested stakeholders have had the opportunity to review and be heard regarding proposed rezonings under the new code.

And there were many other changes along the way--for example, strengthening the standards for special exceptions (called conditional uses) and strengthening the role of master plans.

So thank you to the Council—and especially the PHED Committee (Floreen; Leventhal; Elrich)--and thank you to the Planning Board for all of its hard work.  

Finally, thanks to all of you for staying involved and expressing your views to the Planning Board and the Council.  There will be more to come, but right now we will pause to reflect on a job well done.


Neighborhood Montgomery
A Neighborhood Network for Sensible Growth

Posted by Don436 on 03/21/2014
Montgomery County, Maryland 20853

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