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7 Days to Decide the Future of Your Neighborhood? Say NO Now

Updated: Apr 14

On Monday, April 15th, the Anne Arundel County Council is preparing to pass Bill 26-24 as "emergency legislation" that will privilege the needs of a few over the needs of the rest of us.  The bill would reduce from 14 days to just 7 days the period during which a property owner must notify neighbors of a zoning change they are requesting.


Realistically, 7 days is not enough time for citizens to notice and read the posted signs in their neighborhood, research the implications of the proposed zoning change, coordinate with neighbors, and contact their Council rep.


The notice requirement was amended into the County charter in 2018 to prevent developers from rezoning under the cover of darkness. We acknowledge that this is the first time the Council has been through this process and appreciate their efforts at transparency. But GAN believes that, while better than nothing, the proposed 7 day notice period is not in the spirit of the charter amendment and undermines the public's ability to participate in vital decisions about what is happening in their neighborhoods.


GAN pressed for a 30 day notice period, but agreed to the compromise 14 day period with the understanding it would not be shortened.


We, the Growth Action Network (GAN), believe this is important because the Council has already received dozens of requests to change zoning from just 25% of the county, with many more to come over affecting the entire county the next two years. And in most cases, these requests are bypassing the review by the citizen Stakeholder Advisory Committees at work on these very matters for the past 18 months, and reviews by the Office of Planning and Zoning, and the Planning Advisory Board.


Many Councilmembers say that too many requests came in too late to honor the 14 day period, despite the fact that the submission dates have been clearly published on the Council website since February.


The Council could decide to hold the rezoning bills until the fall, but they would rather ram this through, privileging their donors and other latecomers at the expense of the rest of the community; that the County is already late meeting the state's deadline is not a persuasive reason for ramming this through now.


This is government of the few, for the few, at the expense of the many.


GAN urges you to contact all Council members and request that the 14 day notification period be retained. Submit written testimony opposing the notice period provision of Bill 26-24 at https://www.aacounty.org/county-council/meetings/meeting-participation and consider attending the Council meeting on April 15th to testify in person. Your written testimony must be submitted by 11a Monday. You can sign up in advance to testify in person or just show up at the Council Chambers in the Arundel Center Monday, April 15th, at 7p.


Realistically, Bill 26-24 will probably pass. But the Council should hear loud and clear that we are watching and paying attention, and that their votes on this bill show us where they stand -- for the few at the expense of the many.


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