The Neighbors of the Mayo Peninsula has been leading a coalition of organizations representing communities on peninsulas throughout Anne Arundel County. Our aim is to work with the county to create a more balanced approach to land use on peninsulas that supports both quality of
life and the environment.
Peninsulas are fundamentally defined by their topography: nearly surrounded by waterbodies, they are wrapped by sensitive shorelines and are confined by limited road access to most neighborhoods, parks, and businesses. We want to work with the county to develop a “peninsula overlay” — concepts, criteria, zoning, building codes, etc., that are specific to peninsulas, given
their unique nature and geography and the outsized impact that development on peninsulas has on traffic and infrastructure, the surrounding rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay.
The goal of the coalition is to change and improve the development review and building process as it applies to the county’s peninsulas, including but not necessarily limited to Annapolis Neck, Broadneck, Hog Neck/Mountain Road, Mayo, Marley Neck, and Shadyside.
We have advanced a three-point request to the County Executive and County
Council, as follows:
1. To establish a zoning overlay for peninsulas consisting of rules, criteria, zoning and building codes tailored to the unique environment and infrastructure limitations on peninsulas
2. To conduct detailed, citizen-driven land use planning to support the quality of the environment and quality of life on the county’s peninsulas
3. To define and enforce interim criteria for development on peninsulas to ensure that the pace of development does not outstrip our ability to achieve the first two goals
The rules and criteria for peninsula development should:
Prioritize comprehensive planning focused on the cumulative impactsof current and potential development.
Provide a more inclusive, transparent, and proactive process for meaningful public outreach and input.
Contain criteria that are more appropriate for peninsulas than the existing Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances (APFOs), which are intended to balance and, if necessary, limit development due to the impact on and capacity of roads, schools, emergency services, and wastewater treatment capacity, as described herein.
Better address concerns for the impact of development on water quality, shoreline forest buffers, forest conservation, land preservation, wetlands and stream health, impact fees, aquifer health (quantity and quality of the water supply) than the APFOs and other county rules and
guidance currently achieve.
Better ensure that the full impacts of new development on existing residents are accounted for in the impact fees charged to developers. The maintenance of forested buffer areas, wetlands, seasonal streams, and the natural topography of our peninsulas is essential to the long-term health and welfare of the surrounding waterways and residents. In addition, there is a large body of science demonstrating that the maintenance and restoration of natural bio-retention areas could save county taxpayers millions of dollars annually.
We are working with volunteer attorneys from the Chesapeake Legal Alliance to amend portions of county code 17-5-403 to:
Raise the standards for road congestion on peninsulas before approval of subdivisions
Require builders to submit more detailed plans when there are zoning variances or modifications requested
Notify all of the community associations on a peninsula when a development hearing is held, not just the association in which the development would occur.