As Harford County begins a required comprehensive zoning review, the Glassman administration is introducing a new online tool for the public to track zoning changes requested by property owners. The “Harford County 2017 Rezoning Tracker” developed by the Department of Planning & Zoning went live on December 12 to coincide with the opening of the application window for rezoning requests. Zoning determines a property’s permitted uses and includes agricultural, residential, commercial, and industrial classifications. The tracker displays an interactive map of each rezoning request submitted to county government for the 2017 Comprehensive Zoning Review, plus detailed information about the underlying property.
“Our newest online app delivers real-time information that will bring unprecedented transparency and efficiency to the 2017 Comprehensive Zoning Review,” said County Executive Barry Glassman. “I would like to thank my staff in the Department of Planning & Zoning for improving citizen access to this process under my administration.”
Required by the County Code every eight years, a comprehensive zoning review allows property owners to request a change in their property’s existing zoning designation. Planning & Zoning then reviews each application to ensure the request is consistent with the county’s land use plan. The 2016 land use plan was part of the updated countywide master plan known as HarfordNEXT, which was approved by the County Council in June.
Rezoning applications for the 2017 Comprehensive Zoning Review will be accepted through Friday, February 10, 2017. Applications carry a fee of $800 and must be submitted in person to the Department of Planning & Zoning at 220 S. Main Street in Bel Air. Applicants should use the Main Street entrance and report to the security desk upon arrival.
All rezoning requests will be reviewed at a public meeting held jointly by the citizen-member Planning Advisory Board and the Department of Planning & Zoning; the Department may also recommend additional zoning changes. All recommendations will then be sent to the county executive for review and final submission to the County Council, which is anticipated in September 2017. The council will then hold public hearings before voting on each property under consideration.
Throughout the year-long review process, the rezoning tracker will be accessible from the homepage of the county website and updated in real time as applications are received and processed. The underlying properties will be identified with red crosshatch markings on a countywide map. Clicking on a marked parcel will access multiple tabs of information, including the existing zoning, requested zoning, and assessment data. Within this feature is a link to the “document archive” which displays a copy of the rezoning application. The tracker also includes options to create, save and print maps.
As a companion to the tracker, a rezoning log has also been posted online and will be updated in real time. The log lists affected parcels by council district and by the date the application was filed, with direct links back to the property’s location on the tracker map. As the review process unfolds, columns will be added to the log showing recommendations made for each parcel by the Planning Advisory Board, the Department of Planning & Zoning, and the final decision of the County Council.
Prior to development of the tracker and online log, citizen access to rezoning requests during a comprehensive review was limited to a hard copy of the log. The log was available for viewing upon request at the Department of Planning & Zoning during regular business hours. This option is still available for those without computer access.
For complete information about Harford County’s 2017 Comprehensive Zoning, including FAQs outlining the process, please visit the county website at: http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/2001/2017-Comprehensive-Zoning-Review. Citizens with questions may also call 410-638-3136, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.