Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman has released the draft of Plan2040, the county’s General Development Plan (GDP), for public comment and review. The County Executive made the remarks at the Brooklyn Park Library, where he was joined by Planning and Zoning Director, Steven Kaii-Ziegler, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Land Use, Lori Rhodes, and members of the County Executive’s Youth Advisory Council.
Public comment will be open for 45 days, through November 15, 2020. The document can be downloaded at www.aacounty.org/Plan2040. Plan2040 is the Countywide plan to guide future land use decisions, and lays out an ambitious vision for a greener, more inclusive Anne Arundel County over a 20-year timeframe. All master plans and development regulations adopted subsequently by the County must be consistent with the goals, policies and recommendations of the GDP.
“Anne Arundel County residents don’t trust land use plans,” said County Executive Pittman. “We’ve had good ones before that got ignored – by developers, politicians, and bureaucrats. The key to this plan is that it requires implementation, implementation with a huge dose of additional community engagement. It’s the Regional Plans, the Comprehensive Conservation Plan, and the Countywide and regional implementation committees that give me faith that this truly is our roadmap to The Best Place For All.”
After a series of community outreach activities starting in 2017, the County drafted goals, policies, and implementation strategies aligned with a land use plan that shapes future development of Anne Arundel County. The plan builds on a series of more than 20 public meetings and online surveys the County conducted during this period. Over 4,000 people participated in these events, including the Plan2040 Community Engagement @ Home virtual open house in August.
Plan2040 is a comprehensive plan that covers a broad range of topics including the environment, land use, housing, transportation, schools, recreation and parks, public safety, and economic development. Plan2040 incorporates and aligns goals and priorities from many recent County functional plans including the Move Anne Arundel Transportation Plan and the Land Preservation Parks and Recreation Plan.
Key themes of Plan2040 that emerged through the public planning process are:
- Outline a comprehensive conservation strategy, through stronger environmental regulations, acquisition of open space lands, and restoration of streams, shorelines, and installation of stormwater management retrofit projects
- Promote revitalization and redevelopment over new development, by providing incentives and making investments in public infrastructure to support redevelopment in focus areas, like the Glen Burnie, Odenton, and Parole Town Centers. It also means moving to decrease the intensity of land development allowed in environmentally sensitive areas.
- Encourage more affordable housing by ensuring the County’s workforce, elderly and other vulnerable populations have access to an adequate supply of housing in a variety of neighborhoods that is affordable for a range of income levels.
- Improve the County’s transportation network to reduce key traffic bottlenecks and invest in viable transportation choices, including buses, sidewalks, and bike paths.
- Assure implementation and accountability by requiring nine Regional Plans and Implementation Committees that monitor progress and present report cards based on progress metrics.
After undertaking a very successful high-tech GIS map-based process of online comment on preliminary components of the GDP, the County has taken a more streamlined approach to this 45-day comment process. The public can download the plan on the www.aacounty.org/plan2040 website and provide comments through an online questionnaire.
Initially, the public comment period was planned for 30 days, but County Executive Pittman extended it to 45 days to allow community groups more time to convene, review, and provide input. The County Office of Planning and Zoning will review all comments and provide a summary and response to comments after the public comment period ends.
Kate Fritz, the chair of the County’s Citizens Environmental Commission and executive director of Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, said, “When residents are involved in their local planning efforts, the outcome leads to more equitable and sustainable communities for the future. I encourage every resident to use their voice and get involved with collectively creating a bright and equitable future for all residents of Anne Arundel County.”
After the public comment period ends, the draft Plan2040 will be reviewed through a formal series of meetings with the County Planning Advisory Board. County Executive Pittman will then submit legislation including the proposed plan to the County Council for their consideration. The County Council has the final authority to adopt the plan.