appears ready to enact
a redevelopment ordinance
The county Department of Land Use
and the Planning Board recommended that County Council not
approve an ordinance proposed by Robert Weiner that would
tighten requirements developers would have to meet in order to
qualify for incentives under the redevelopment section of the
Unified Development Code.
There was a significant difference,
however, in the tenor of the recommendations. While the
department presented a point-by-point objection to all of Weiner's
proposal, the board indicated in a lengthy discussion at its
business meeting on July 19 that it wanted both his ordinance
and a less-restrictive one sponsored by Joseph Reda and David
Tackett tabled to allow it time for further review. However, the
recommendation resolution it agreed to unanimously did not
specify that intent.
Reda told Delaforum that he
intends to bring his and Tackett's measure to a vote at
Council's plenary session on July 26, the
last gathering before a month-long summer recess. Supportive
comments at a committee meeting on July 19 indicated that there
are more than the seven votes necessary for passage.
The department previously
recommended that it be enacted while the board voted
overwhelmingly to recommend that it be rejected.
There is said to be no doubt that
the Paul Clark administration favors the legislation and that
the county executive will sign it into law.
Council President Tom Kovach said
that he interpreted a Council rule to require that the
ordinance, because it is a substitute for the one originally
introduced, go back to the department and board for their
comments on what he called "substantive changes" in the new
version. As presiding officer he can order such a referral, but
a majority of Council members can either overrule his order or
suspend the procedural rules. Again, at the committee meeting
there appeared to be sufficient votes to do either. Moreover,
Carol Duling, Council's attorney, said thatm to the best of her
recollection, no substitute legislation has ever been sent back
to advisory bodies for a further recommendation.
In its recommendation on Weiner's
ordinance the department criticized the fact that that measure
is now a second substitute to its original version. The
department report referred to that as creating "a moving
It was not clear, though, why it
objected to Weiner's substitute legislation when it acknowledges
that it drafted the one for Reda and Tackett. The department
also drafted their original version. It is not unusual for
county operating departments to draft legislation they want
enacted or in response to a request from a Council member.
At the planning board meeting,
chairman Victor Singer sought to form consensuses on what
provisions in both proposed ordinances that members favored and
which ones they opposed. After two hours of occasionally
rambling discussion, mainly involving Singer and William
McGlinchey, tno such list emerged. Board member Arthur Wilson
complained that not all members had an opportunity to offer
One point on which there seemed
to be general agreement was opposition to what Weiner has called
"paper redevelopment." That refers to 'replacing' what was
proposed in a development plan approved long ago but never
built. Having that approved as redevelopment would entitle the
developer to incentives, expedited review and exemption from
strict adherence to the Unified Development Code.
In its report the land use
department said reported that 54 redevelopment plans have been
approved between enactment of the present provisions in 2004 and
early June of this year. There are nine currently pending in
various stages of the approval process. At the committee meeting
Tackett said that "every redevelopment plan that we have seen
built so far has been successful [and] there have been [none]
that anyone has said was a disaster."