COMPREHENSIVE ZONING PROCESS
Every four years in Baltimore County every property is eligible for a change in zoning whether it is classified as residential or commercial. The process is as follows.
First, there is an open filing period for the general public, community associations and the Baltimore County Office of Planning to file zoning change requests. This takes place between September 1 and October 14, 2011. The Baltimore County Planning Board and the Baltimore County Planning Director may then file additional zoning requests during the month of October 2011. Members of the Baltimore County Council may file additional zoning requests between November 1 and November 30, 2011.
All filings for zoning changes must be completed for the 2011-2012 comprehensive zoning process by November 30, 2011.
The second step in the process is the Baltimore County Office of Planning reviews all issues that have been filed. Preliminary recommendations on the zoning changes are published in a “log of issues” on the Baltimore County website. Public hearings are then scheduled and held before the Planning Board in March of 2012. After the public hearings on all filed issues, the Planning Board will hold work sessions open to the public. The Planning Board then votes and makes recommendations upon each issue by May 4, 2012.
Third, the Baltimore County Council holds public hearings during the month of June 2012 with subsequent reviews between July and August 2012. The ultimate vote on all issues will be held by the Baltimore County Council by September 16, 2012.
The public hearings for the Planning Board and County Council are typically held in high schools located in each Councilmanic District. Any interested citizen may speak for approximately two minutes after signing up at the beginning of the public hearing. There is absolutely no dialogue between the members of the Planning Board or County Council and the individual speaking.
It is important to note that the Baltimore County Office of Planning and County Council often attempt to “down zone” properties during the Comprehensive Zoning Map Process. This means that a commercially zoned property may be down zoned to allow a more restricted commercial use thus possibly affecting the property value. Residentially zoned land may also be “down zoned” to allow a lesser number of houses to be developed, therefore substantially reducing the value of the land.
If you or your community association are aware of an issue that may affect your business or neighborhood, now is the time to consider taking action. Members of the Baltimore County Planning Staff will review each petition filed for each Councilmanic District. Planning Staff and County Council members are often willing to meet with individual property owners and community associations to discuss the re-zoning issues. It is important for your views and the views of your community be made known to the Planning Office, Planning Board and County Council.
After representing various clients with re-zoning issues for the past twenty plus years. the law office of J. Neil Lanzi, P.A. can assist you with either filing a zoning petition or monitoring a zoning petition filed by others. It is recommended that you begin any inquiries regarding your property early in the process.
REMINDER TO ALL CLIENTS
The law firm of J. Neil Lanzi, P.A. handles personal injury cases (automobile, pedestrian, bicycle, motorcycle), general business (formation, LLC, sale), zoning, real estate and development, estate planning and probate.