Board of County Commissioner's Actions: Commissioners Hear Urban Growth Area Committee Report

Board of County Commissioner's Actions
Commissioners Hear Urban Growth Area Committee Report

In its regular meeting on September 15th, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners heard a report from the Urban Growth Area (UGA) Advisory Committee. Chair Richard Phoebus reported on the last of 6 charges to that Committee that included receiving citizen input during public meetings and making recommendations based on citizen remarks regarding zoning in the Urban Growth Area; reviewing Subdivision, Zoning and Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances to identify land use related obstacles to affordable housing, reviewing Subdivision, Zoning and Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances to identify opportunities for streamlining those regulations;
identifying transferable development rights (TDR) receiving areas in the UGA should such a program be created; commenting on Workforce Housing Task Force recommendations regarding manufactured housing design guidelines and inclusionary zoning; plus reviewing and making recommendations on Planning Commission and staff's final proposal for the proposed changes to the applicable text of the Zoning Ordinance and the application of zoning designations to properties in the UGA.
Phoebus told the Board that the Committee strongly recommended creation of a TDR program that would adequately compensate landowners for reductions in rights to develop properties, and protection of the 9700 acres in the UGA that are currently under Agricultural or Conservation zoning.
The Committee was made up of 14 citizens, including the agricultural community, citizens at large and two former County Commissioners, John Shank and Linda Irvin-Craig. The final report has been posted on line at the Planning Department page at www.washco-md.net.
The Board delayed action on interim certification of the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation (MALPP) Agriculture Transfer Tax Fund and priority preservation areas, and requested the issue be brought back at a later date.
The Commissioners formally rejected bids for consultant services for the state-mandated Water Resources Element (WRE) of the Comprehensive Plan that would address the relationship of planned growth to planning area water resources. That plan will be developed in-house.
The Board approved advertisement of the Economic Development Office Fiscal/Research Specialist position. That position is responsible for EDC budget development, and other duties.
Commissioners approved agreements between the County and the State Highway Department that would provide $380,000 toward widening of Eastern Boulevard, and $95,000 for planning of the "Northeast Bypass" also known as Eastern Boulevard Extended.
County Administrator Greg Murray requested approval on change orders to reduce County budgeted costs of Capital Projects by a total of $304,000. The changes were approved.
Appointments to Boards and Commissions included John Menard to the Gaming Commission; Richard Seibert, reappointed and Katy Long, appointed to the Agricultural Marketing Advisory Committee; and Steve Ernst reappointed to the Agricultural Land Advisory Board.
The Commissioners helped break ground for the Washington County Public School System's Antietam Academy during the morning, and visited with the Humane Society Board of Directors in the afternoon.