Pre-submission meetings help community stay informed

While driving around Howard County, you have probably seen a blue sign stuck in the ground beside the road and wondered, "What was on that sign I just passed?" And if you have gone back to read it, you might have asked "What did the information mean?"

The blue sign contains information announcing a pre-submission community meeting. The Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ) requires developers to hold these meetings close to the proposed development site at a convenient location and time to inform neighborhood residents of proposed residential, commercial or governmental development. The blue sign shows the date, time and place of the pre-submission community meeting, plus a phone number and web address ( you can consult for additional information.

Howard County government officials have refined legislation to ensure that citizens are kept informed of development proposed in their neighborhoods, realizing it may affect them and their families. Important in this "transparent government," is the requirement for developers to hold convenient pre-submission community meetings and explain what they intend to do in the community. These meetings are required before the developer can officially submit plans to DPZ.

At the meeting, attendees receive a DPZ-prepared handout explaining the development procedure. The developer explains plans, answers questions and listens to suggestions. The meeting does not entitle attendees to stop or alter a developer's plan. It is only to provide information and establish a dialogue between the developer and community residents. Within 60 days of the meeting, the developer is required to send all questions with answers, together with attendees' names and minutes of the meeting, to those who attended. The developer must then submit this information to DPZ with the formal development plan.

You are invited and encouraged to attend pre-submission community meetings and learn about changes proposed for your neighborhood. These meetings are required to inform community residents and should be attended by everyone concerned about their neighborhoods.

Richard Tufts


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