Mayor to Propose Streamlining Development Review Process

July 6, 2011
Press Release

Annapolis Mayor Joshua J. Cohen announces that he will introduce legislation next week to streamline the review process for new development while maintaining public notification, review and input into decisions. This is another key initiative to support the City's priority of stimulating economic activity in Annapolis.

At the podium is Planning Director, Jon Arason, on the left is Mayor Joshua Cohen and on the right is Midgett Parker, Chairman of the Board of the Annapolis Economic Development Corporation.

The proposed ordinance will eliminate duplicative hearings before the appointed, citizen Planning Commission and the Board of Appeals, each of which currently reviews and conduct separate public hearings on planned developments and special exceptions. Under the legislation, planned developments will be reviewed only by the Planning Commission (unless the decision is appealed) and special exceptions will be considered only by the Board of Appeals.

The ordinance (O-31-11) will be presented Monday to the City Council on first reader.

“I am committed to changing City Hall from a ‘culture of no’ to a ‘culture of yes,’” Mayor Cohen said. “We need to strike the right balance to streamline and simplify the development process while continuing to maintain public input and high standards. This ordinance strikes the right balance between those two goals. This simple change will have a big impact, saving property owners significant time and expense in the development process."

“This ordinance will reduce time and expense in the review process for these applications,” Planning Director Jon Arason said. “The public should rest assured that this change will in no way diminish the public vetting, comment or opportunities to be heard. We remain committed to hearing from our citizens in development-related matters.”

“AEDC is encouraged by this progress and are hopeful that the Department of Planning and Zoning and the City continue to streamline the development process,” said Midgett Parker, Chairman of the Board of the Annapolis Economic Development Corp and partner in the Annapolis law firm, Linowes and Blocher LLP. “AEDC hopes this legislation and our support for the department’s efforts send a clear message to the business community that we are committed to changing the ways things get done and ultimately how efficient things can become in the future.”