When former County Executive Steve Schuh launched the Citizen Advisory Committee in October 2018 to help guide the General Development Plan, members ranged from a marina owner to a stay-at-home mom who led a homeowner’s association. Current County Executive Steuart Pittman decided to reorganize the committee to make it more neighborhood-focused, and the new group will get to work with a day-long public kickoff workshop at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Annapolis (210 Holiday Court) on April 13 from 9:00am to 4:00pm.
The former committee, which met twice monthly during the fall and early winter, included 17 members. The new CAC has 18 Small Area representatives and five at-large members, including two developers and a student.
“Our new CAC has community representatives from each of the county’s former 16 Small Areas, and none are people whose livelihoods depend on developing land,” Pittman said in a statement. “Instead, we selected people capable of bringing their neighbors together to get engaged in the process. Developers and environmental advocates have at-large seats to ensure that their voices are heard, and we are bringing in outside experts who know best practices in smart growth planning.”
The Citizens Advisory Committee will be chaired by Elizabeth Rosborg of Arnold Preservation Council, who was on the original CAC. Five other previous members of the CAC are continuing their service, but the majority of the new committee is composed of community leaders who applied in February when Pittman re-opened the application process.
Rosborg got involved because she didn’t want to just complain about overdevelopment and traffic; she wanted to be part of the solution. That process starts with the public kickoff on April 13.
“People should come and give their input because we need to learn from them what they want the county to look like in the future,” Rosborg said. “I highly encourage people to attend if possible, and if not, they can follow along online.”
Pat Lynch is representing the Broadneck peninsula. “With a new administration at the helm in our county, we hope that the focus and concentration will be on, as Steuart Pittman has declared, supporting community advocates dedicated to limited development, stronger zoning laws, environmental preservation and even tighter enforcement procedures so we may finally protect our properties and protect our environment for years to come,” Lynch said. “Through careful planning during this GDP rewrite, we are dedicated to determining threats to our watershed properties and preventing environmental destruction on our peninsula.”
Following the kickoff meeting in April, Pittman’s administration plans to host outreach sessions in May with the assistance of nonprofit organization Smart Growth America.
The new proposed timeline estimates that the General Development Plan would be introduced to the county council in the spring of 2020. After adoption of the GDP, the administration will initiate the comprehensive zoning process. The administration plans to consider comprehensive zoning legislation on a community scale, similar to the former Small Area Plan districts, beginning in July 2020.
More information about the Citizens Advisory Committee and the strategy and timeline for the General Development Plan can be found here. CAC meetings will held on the first and third Wednesday of each month, from 5:00pm to 7:00pm in the Chesapeake Room of the Heritage Center at 2664 Riva Road in Annapolis.
“The new Citizens Advisory Committee is more diverse, represents more communities and is intended to foster greater collaboration among all stakeholders,” said Phil Hager, Planning and Zoning officer. “We welcome the addition of more public participation and believe this will result in a stronger General Development Plan.”