Public Participation Process

The public participation process to establish a regulating plan, which in turn establishes the vision, standards of development, and zoning for the place, is an identical process for current sectional map amendments in designated centers and corridor nodes. It will involve a newly established public involvement process in the few cases where it is approved for use through the zoning map amendment process. In many ways, the creation of a Regulating Plan involves more public input than existing procedures.

Consistency


The Urban Centers and Corridor Nodes Development Code will ensure consistency between the vision set forth in the Regulating Plan and the built results. Developers will be an integral part of shaping the Regulating Plan, along with community members and other stakeholders, and will have an equal voice at the table. As with other planning efforts, their perspective will be needed to understand how the market can or cannot support development alternatives considered while drafting the regulating plan.

Different Approach


The code proposes a fundamentally different approach to ensuring the future of high-quality, transit- and pedestrian-oriented development at designated centers and corridor nodes. It is intended to facilitate additional development at these areas, per the General Plan, to take fullest advantage of massive public expenditures in the public infrastructure related to the Metro Stations, MARC stations, and other centers and corridor nodes within the county. Research for this project, as well as for the ongoing Zoning Ordinance update, reveal that developers spend quite a bit of time and money in navigating in the development process. These funds could better be invested in actual construction under a more efficient, certain process, and allow for additional public amenities to be provided by the developer.

Streamlining


Streamlining the process, providing additional certainty for all stakeholders (not just developers), and reducing review and approval time frames at these key locations is in keeping with Smart Growth and transit-oriented development principles, will increase the county tax base, and will also offer the county an opportunity to preserve additional undeveloped land in the Developing and Rural Tiers by directing growth to centers and corridor nodes.

Review


The code is designed for time-savings at the “back end” of the development process, by requiring extensive development, review, and approval of the Regulating Plan by community members and decision-makers at the “front end.” The level of specificity required by this process sets up the opportunity to save time and money in the development process. When a developer is ready to develop a property, the code provides the chance to come forth with a proposal that matches the requirements of the Regulating Plan and more efficiently move through an administrative approval process. This is beneficial to all parties, not just developers.