Zoning is the process of regulating the land use and building design (height, size, spacing and use) within a community. In the general sense, zoning determines what can be developed and where and how it can be developed. Zoning helps protect public and private interests, preserve critical areas, promote orderly growth, and encourage development to occur at a rate and manner that the community desires.
A Zoning Ordinance is the written law that defines how zoning can be implemented in a community. The Zoning Ordinance also details application requirements, review criteria and approval authority. In Prince George’s County, the current zoning ordinance was written more than 50 years ago and is longer than 1,200 pages.
Subdivision is the process of dividing land for purposes of sale or development. Subdivisions are controlled through a process known as platting.
Subdivision Regulations are laws that control division of land and quality of development. The regulations govern lot division, road layout and standards, infrastructure requirements, and the availability of public facilities.
The current code is significantly outdated and overly complex, making the land-development process expensive, time-consuming, and unpredictable. Additionally, the current code is not reflective of the vision for future growth in the county. By updating the zoning ordinance, we hope to create an intuitive and modern set of development regulations for the 21st century that supports the county’s vision for quality growth and economic development, and improves the quality of life for Prince George County residents.
The Zoning Ordinance update should have a positive impact on all individuals who live, work, or play in Prince George’s County. The rewrite of the zoning code will encourage more community input and streamline processes. As a result, this will lead to a more predictable experience for development.
How will the Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations rewrite affect development projects in progress?
Development projects that are currently in progress will not be affected by the Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations rewrite process. Anyone who has a pending development application at the time the new zoning code is adopted will have the option of proceeding through the development review process under the existing regulations. It is also typical for zoning ordinance updates to include transition provisions to address these kinds of circumstances.
Subtitle 27A, also known as Urban Centers and Corridor Nodes Development Code of Prince George’s County, is part of the Prince George’s County’s Zoning Ordinance (Subtitle 27) by extension. Subtitle 27A was an attempt to establish streamlined and clear development review and approval procedures and design regulations to control and ensure future transit-oriented, pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use development at designated Centers and Corridor Nodes (locations established by the 2002 General Plan or some master and sector plans). Our expectation is that the new Zoning Ordinance will incorporate elements similar to those contained within Subtitle 27A to address the more
urban forms of development desired by the county. Successful enactment of a new Zoning Ordinance will eliminate the need for Subtitle 27A, and it will no longer be in effect.
Community input is crucial to creating a 21st century Zoning Ordinance for Prince George’s County. The project team and the Prince George’s County Planning Board value the public’s participation in the process. There will be opportunities for public forums and hearings throughout the process. Information about these meetings will be available on our website. We also encourage everyone to sign-up for our email list to get timely updates.
“Plan Prince George’s 2035,” is the blueprint for where and how the county grows over the next 20 years. The plan establishes goals, policies, strategies, and a new growth vision for Prince George’s County that will help direct new development to existing transit-oriented centers, focus public investment on our economic engines, capitalize on and maintain our infrastructure, strengthen our established communities, and proactively preserve our natural, historic, and cultural resources. “Plan Prince George’s 2035” identifies updating the Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance as “the number one priority in order to begin to implement Plan 2035.”
The Prince George’s County Planning Department of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission is managing the project. Chad Williams, LEED AP BD+C, is serving as the Department’s Project Manager. The Department will work closely with the community, elected and appointed officials, and various county agencies.
For specific questions regarding the Zoning Rewrite Update, contact the project team at ZoningPGC@ppd.mncppc.org.