On Monday, June 5, the Baltimore County Council passed Bill 42-12, which modifies elements of the Planned Unit Development process. Nothing was reported on Patch regarding the final legislation, so I would like to describe key parts of this bill.
A Planned Unit Development is a special project which does not conform to conventional zoning. In return for different zoning standards, the developer is expected to adher to more rigorous review than normal projects, and there must be a community benefit package.
The current County Council has enacted several reforms to make the Planned Unit Development process more accessible to the public. The Council passed legislation that requires a public input meeting and agency comments at the very beginning of the PUD process. A PUD proposal must now be on-line, and a land preservation group such as NeighborSpace of Baltimore County can now qualify for the community benefit package.
Bill 42-12 continues these reforms. The legislation has several important elements.
First, the legislation clarifies that the second, post-submission input meeting occurs between 21 and 30 days after a PUD application is filed.
Second, Bill 42-12 requires that meeting minutes be posted on-line.
Third, Bill 42-12 specifies that the Departments of Environmental Protection and Sustainability, Planning, and Public Works, will review the application.
Fourth, Bill 42-12 says that the comments by these agencies will be posted on-line, where the public can see them.
Fifth, the legislation states that final review by the hearing officer is based on a determination that the proposed PUD meets the Master Plan, community plans, or the Department of Planning.
Sixth, the legislation spells out the process by which a material amendment to an approved PUD may be considered.
These changes will result in perhaps the most open, transparent process possible for a proposed development in Baltimore County. As a former President of the Perry Hall Improvement Association, I often struggled with obtaining minutes or agency evaluations of proposed developments. With Bill 42-12, the information is on-line and there is ample opportunity for public comment.
It is important that you know the reforms included in this bill, since you may not read about them elsewhere.