Testing the Draft Zoning Ordinance

Have you ever imagined what would happen if you had the opportunity to go back in time and redo what you have already done? Yes? So have we, and now we are all going to have our chance. The Zoning Rewrite’s consultant team, Clarion Associates, is going to test their recommendations for the County’s new Zoning Ordinance and we want your help in selecting development sites and zoning types we can use as test cases. Testing the Zoning Ordinance gives us the opportunity to see if the new zoning code will produce the type of development we want to see in the County and identify the things we need to fix to get it right.

Please submit your suggestions for what Clarion should be testing. These may include:

  • Single-family subdivisions or single houses built on a vacant lot in an existing community
  • Commercial shopping centers or big-box stores
  • Industrial uses
  • Multifamily or townhouse buildings
  • Mixed-use or transit-oriented
  • Metro-accessible development
  • Gas stations
  • Drive-through restaurants
  • Anything else you may like to see

Is there development in the County you like and want to make sure that it can still be built under the new rules? How about a development that did not turn out the way you would have liked and could benefit from the new rules? Let us know!

Submitting Suggestions

Submit your suggestions to the Zoning Rewrite team by September 9, 2016.

  • Type of Development:
  • Name of Project:
  • Project Address/Street Name, if known (or a general description of cross-streets or other characteristics that let us know what project you have in mind):
  • Any additional comments or descriptions, including what you may be most interested in reviewing during the testing:

Why Are We Testing?

Testing the proposed regulations and processes allows us to see the proposed new rules in action, before we pull them all together—and revise them according to your input—in the Comprehensive Review Draft expected at the end of this year. It is a key step in understanding the effectiveness of the proposals and gives us clear examples of the impact of the proposed draft ordinance and, ideally, improvements to the overall quality of development in our communities.

How do we test?

Our consultant team will take foundational elements of existing projects in the County (including use, development type, lot size, location, and density) and analyze the project using the proposed guidelines as if they were submitting the application for the first time.

The consultants will then design the project by adhering to the regulations in the proposed new zoning code. Each test will consider the process that would be used for the proposed development—including community and municipal input opportunities—and the dimensional and design standards such as setbacks, building heights and orientation, window placements, open-space set asides, sidewalks, parking lots, pedestrian and cyclist access, stormwater management, sustainability, and neighborhood compatibility. They will also detail the type of development review process that the code mandates, including whether or not subdivision review would be required and what role that may play.

What Happens Next?
Once suggestions are received, the Zoning Rewrite Team will select up to eight development test sites. Final selections will be posted on the Zoning Rewrite website. Final testing results will be presented to the community later this year.
Update! Based on your feedback, the following locations have been identified as test cases for the zoning rewrite. The Consultant team is busy working to prepare the final diagrams and narrative of the test cases. We are looking forward to sharing the results and lessons learned from the test cases with the public soon. Stay tuned for additional details.

Test Case 1

Case Type: Infill Residential Development
Case Location: Capitol Heights
Current Zoning: R-55

Test Case 2

Case Type: Redevelopment and Revitalization
Case Location: Rivertowne Commons, Constellation Building, Home Depot, and Petsmart
Current Zoning: C-S-C

Test Case 3

Case Type: Urban Revitalization
Case Location: Suitland Manor
Current Zoning: M-U-TC, D-D-O

Test Case 4

Case Type: Urban/Municipal Redevelopment
Case Location: Beltway Plaza
Current Zoning: M-U-I, C-S-C, D-D-O

Test Case 5
Case Type: Multifamily Residential/Phased Development
Case Location: Intersection of Hill Road, Walker Mill Road, and Central Avenue
Current Zoning: C-S-C

Test Case 6
Case Type: R-PD Basic Plan/Rezoning/Farm Compatibility
Case Location: South Osbourne Road
Current Zoning: R-A

Test Case 7

Case Type: A certified nonconforming use and Special Exception, with neighborhood compatibility
Case Location: Mount Rainier
Current Zoning: R-55, C-S-C

Test Case 8

Case Type: High-density transit-oriented development
Case Location: Baltimore Avenue in College Park
Current Zoning: M-U-I, D-D-O