Prince George’s Countywide Map Amendment Process Restarts

Vincent BiaseVincent Biase, Attorney

After a six-month delay due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Prince George’s Countywide Sectional Map Amendment (CMA) is finally back on the County Council’s agenda. The County will kickoff the CMA process next month with a Joint Public Hearing on Thursday, November 19 at 5 PM. Those wishing to participate in or view the Joint Public Hearing can do so at the links provided below:

The Joint Public Hearing on the CMA has been anticipated since the Prince George’s County Council adopted CR-10-2020, an Emergency Resolution that stayed all public meetings, sessions, and hearings of the District Council for a period of at least sixty-days, one week prior to the previously scheduled March 23, 2020 Hearing on the CMA. As discussed in our prior blog post, the County Council recently enacted CB-33-2020 and adopted CR-57-2020 to amend the Zoning Ordinance and District Council Rules in order to conduct hearings virtually during the Pandemic. These new District Council Rules and Procedures have allowed the County’s rezoning effort to move forward through an online streaming platform.

Understanding the CMA

The CMA is the second phase of the Prince George’s County Zoning Rewrite and the last, critical component  before the County can implement the new Zoning Ordinance. Functionally, the CMA will apply the approved, new zoning regulations (which include new zone classifications) to land located within the County, by transitioning the existing zones to the most similar new zones.

The Prince George’s Planning Department has developed a rezoning decision matrix for evaluating future zoning on individual properties. This matrix considers current zoning, applicable master planning, the County’s Plan Prince George’s 2035 General Plan, and relevant Future Land Use Maps. A map comparing the existing zoning and currently anticipated new zoning can be viewed for individual properties through the link below:

The CMA will ultimately result in the application of new zones to all of Prince George’s County, except for the City of Laurel. The entire process should last roughly six months. The new Zoning Ordinance is currently anticipated to be fully implemented in summer 2021.

Significance of the CMA

As mentioned above, the CMA is the County’s instrument for applying the previously approved and adopted, future Zoning Ordinance to individual properties throughout Prince George’s. Accordingly, property rights and applicable regulations will change once the new Ordinance takes effect. While many properties will be rezoned only in name, a portion of the County will be rezoned in such a way that affects the development rights, property values, and tax liability as a result of the CMA. It is important for property owners, developers, and community stakeholders to be aware of these changes as the new Ordinance becomes law over the course of the next 6+ months.

The CMA process allows property owners to request certain, specific zones for their property. In order to request a specific zone or zoning change, a property owner must complete a zoning request form that details and justifies a technical error in the application of the County’s rezoning decision matrix to their respective property.

For more information related to the new Zoning Ordinance, the CMA process, or their combined effect on properties throughout Prince George’s County, please feel free to contact me, Chris Hatcher, Chip Reed, or Stacy Silber.