2016-11-29 / Front Page

Arundel Planning Board to hold public hearing Thursday

Residents to weigh in on building permit allowance
By ALAN BENNETT
Staff Writer

ARUNDEL — The Arundel Planning Board will hold a public hearing on Thursday, during which residents are expected to express their thoughts on proposed changes to two town ordinances.

One is more of a housekeeping measure, the other would effect the town's growth.

Residents will weigh in on the proposed repeal of the existing 2016 Arundel Land Use Ordinance, which would be replaced with a more user-friendly format. Changes would include the reorganization of chapters and text, and would be further limited to adding subheadings, re-numbering sections and deleting repetitive text.

The 2007 Residential Growth Ordinance is also up for public debate. The propsed amendment to the ordinance would decrease the maximum number of building permits for new residential units issued in a calendar year. Currently, no more than four permits may be issued in a single month, with no more than 40 issued each year.

The proposed amendment would reduce the number of permits issued to three permits per month, with no more than 28 permits issued in a calendar year.

The purpose of the existing ordinance, according to the document, is to, “allow growth of the population of the town at a rate that would not impose an undue burden upon the provision of community services … and which would be compatible with the orderly and gradual expansion of said services in accordance with the town’s Comprehensive Plan.“ 

Those community services include education, fire and police protection, road maintenance and waste disposal, health services and welfare. 

Town Planner Tad Redway said Monday the town by state statute is required to review the number of building permits it issues every three years and, if there is a substantial increase in the number issued, can raise the number it allows by 5 or even 10 percent. 

But that hasn't happened, he said. The average number of permits issued since 2013 has been just 14 each year. Prior to and just after the beginning of the financial recession several years ago, Redway said the town hit a peak 40 permits each year, the current maximum. 

Redway said the Planning Board contemplated reducing the number of building permits allowed to 14, but felt that would impede certain developments from being constructed, including a 43-lot subdivision he said has been tabled for years. 

Redway said the public will likely have questions pertaining to the board’s logic in reducing the number of allowable permits, which he and the board are prepared to answer. 

“I’m sure they’re going to be asking how the Planning Board came to those conclusions, and we will be providing that information,” he said. 

However, he is expecting to get some pushback. 

“I know the Building Committee won’t be happy. Anything that restricts your ability to get a building permit is of concern,” he said, although he mentioned the town’s code enforcement officer has never had to deny a building permit in his 13-year tenure. 

“I expect there will be some people who will object to this,” he said.

The public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday in the library of the Mildred L. Day School, 600 Limerick Road, Arundel. Copies of proposed ordinance revision documents are available to view by the public at the Arundel Town Clerk’s Office, 468 Limerick Road, Arundel.

— Staff Writer Alan Bennett can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 329 or abennett@journaltribune.com. 

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