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Groups Sue County Over Zoning

| October 11, 2011, 05:21 PM | 0 Comments

The Growth Action Network has announced that several of its member associations have joined with a number of residents of Anne Arundel County to file a lawsuit challenging the way Anne Arundel County is going about comprehensive rezoning.  The suit focuses on controversial zoning changes recently made by the County Council in Council Districts 6 and 7.

Describing the background of the suit, Ann Fligsten, Executive Director of the Growth Action Network said, “During the rezoning process, the County’s Office of Planning and Zoning received over ninety applications for rezoning in Districts 6 and 7.  After reviewing those applications, the County’s Office of Planning and Zoning drafted a bill for the Council’s approval that included fifty zoning changes.  That bill was supported by the County’s Planning Advisory Board, which commended Planning and Zoning for the approach it took.  It came as a surprise to many, therefore, when the Council approved amendments to that bill to make an additional forty zoning changes to those that had been recommended.  The County Executive vetoed sixteen of those amendments on the grounds that they were inconsistent with the County’s General Development Plan, but the Council overrode ten of those vetoes.”

According to Mike Lofton of the Harwood Civic Association, “The County’s General Development Plan, which was adopted by the County Council at the end of 2009, was the product of extensive work by the County’s planning staff and thousands of hours of citizen involvement.  Maryland law requires that comprehensive rezoning be done in a manner that implements and is consistent with the General Development Plan.  It is clear from what happened here that this Council chose largely to disregard the GDP and the advice of the County’s excellent professional planning staff.  We believe that not only did the actions of the Council demonstrate an arrogant disrespect for the wishes of the citizens of the County, but they were in clear violation of Maryland law, and we expect the courts to reverse them.”

The suit was filed in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County.  The plaintiffs are represented by a team of volunteer lawyers recruited by the Chesapeake Legal Alliance and headed by Russell Stevenson.

For further information, contact Ann Fligsten at 410-544-1454 or Russell Stevenson at 202-360-1144.

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