Guest Speaker: Casey Anderson, Chair, Montgomery County Planning Board
Topic: The Subdivision Staging Policy – What it means for Montgomery County
April 12, 2016 Recap
The vice-chair of the Infrastructure and Land Use Committee, Gus Bauman, welcomed MCCC members and introduced the guest speaker, Casey Anderson, Chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board. Anderson is a familiar presence at MCCC having served first as a Planning Board Commissioner and now the Chair. He started by saying that on Thursday he will make a formal presentation to Park Police responders who received recognition at the March Public Safety Awards Luncheon. He thanked MCCC and Chair Steve Robins for their commitment to the public safety community and would like the Planning Board to annually recognize Park Police responders.
Most attendees were familiar with the Subdivision Staging Policy and the current transportation adequacy tests for new development. Anderson explained that the current system applies fees in three layers: per trip generated, PAMR which is a relatively large area in relation to a project, and LATR which is the local area of the project.
There are problems with the current system when applied throughout the county. In particular, with regard to LATR, it often leaves the last project to an area responsible for solving all the transportation impacts that have been created. It also pushes development further out. While most everyone acknowledges shortcomings to the current system, it is hard to take a leap of faith to change the rules.
The Subdivision Staging Policy is the process whereby ideas can be explored to streamline and make the tests more efficient and effective.
In reality, the transportation impact taxes only generate about 4% of the funds for the transportation projects in the CIP. But, as Anderson stated, the rules are important to provide proportionality and predictability. In a large county with distinctive areas, doing the same thing everywhere has limitations. Distinct areas in the County– urban, suburban, rural – have different needs, different land use patterns resulting in varied proximities to goods, services, employment and modes of transportation.
A goal of the Subdivision Staging Policy is to grow as efficiently as possible. In fact, the General Plan of Corridors and Wedges that was adopted in 1964 has been followed to great effect. Over time, it has become more important to adjust without more regulations and fees, but through a customized, single and predictable standard.
Many of the attendees were able to ask detailed questions of how these changes in tests may impact them and their clients. Casey thanked various organizations who support the changes to measuring transportation infrastructure adequacy and who advocate to the County Council.
As the process unfolds, it will be important to engage the County Council members and the County Executive in finding new ways forward that identify patterns of land use and how they can be managed to facilitate economic activity.
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