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Planning Board to Discuss Subdivision Regulations, Tree Canopy at Thursday Meeting

Planning staff recommend that the board's comments on the proposed subdivision regulation amendments be sent to the county council for a public hearing on Jan. 22.

The Montgomery County Planning Board will consider three amendments to county subdivision regulations at its meeting on Thursday, Jan. 17, at the county planning headquarters at 8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring.

All three subdivision regulation amendments will be discussed in the morning portion (approximately 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) of the meeting, according to the meeting agenda. Planning staff recommend that the board's comments on the proposed amendments be sent to the county council for a public hearing on Jan. 22.

The first amendment (SRA No. 12-02) regards platting exemptions for small parcels of land in Community Legacy Plan Areas.

When small parcels of land in Community Legacy Plan Areas are developed, the platting requirements can be onerous and "in conflict with the identification of an area as a Community Legacy Plan Area," sponsors of the amendment say, according to briefing documents

The Community Legacy Program "provides local governments and community development organizations with funding for essential projects aimed at strengthening communities through activities such as retaining and attracting businesses and encouraging homeownership and commercial revitalization throughout Maryland," the briefing states.

County Community Legacy Plan Areas include the Burtonsville Legacy Plan Area and the Wheaton-Long Branch-Silver Spring Community Legacy Area.

Planning staff recommend an exemption from the platting requirement for small businesses expanding in Community Legacy Areas by no more than 2,000 square feet, as long as the increased square footage "not encroach into any adopted master plan road right-of-way," according to the briefing documents.

The second subdivision regulation amendment to be discussed on Thursday (SRA No. 12-03) "would allow consolidation of an existing part of a lot that contains a legally constructed one-family dwelling unit with a partition of land created as a result of a deed under the minor subdivision process," briefing materials state.

And, related to SRA No. 12-03, Zoning Text Amendment No. 12-18—also up for discussion on Thursday—"would allow a deeded tract of land that includes a legally constructed one-family dwelling to be platted into one buildable lot ... [and] would also allow such lots to be consolidated with adjacent commonly owned land into a larger building lot..." according to briefing materials.

The third subdivision regulation amendment under discussion on Thursday (SRA No. 12-04) would "clarify the provisions for ownership lots in the minor subdivision process," according to briefing materials for the meeting.

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Also on the agenda for Thursday's planning board meeting: a public hearing for a tree canopy conservation bill, Silver Spring Patch reported.

Bill 35-12 would protect the "existing tree canopy, create a fund to plant new trees, and 'establish procedures, standards, and requirements to minimize the loss and disturbance of tree canopy as a result of development,' according to the language proposed," Silver Spring Patch added.

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Review the full agenda for Thursday's meeting on the planning board's website.

Lo January 17, 2013 at 01:07 AM
I'm happy to read about the tree canopy conservation. A subdivision was built a few houses down from my home and they plowed down an entire 13 acres of woods to build homes. They didn't leave a single, solitary mature tree standing. It made me sick. I found it to be completely irresponsible and in poor taste. Then, once the houses were built, they planted a couple tiny, baby trees in the front yards of each property. I understand it's easier to build without obstruction but these builders/developers need to show some consideration for wildlife, aesthetics, and the current neighborhood.

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