The At-Large Council Members are acting to strip new Council Majority of zoning powers. Please take action against amending the new Zoning Ordinance.
Council members Calvin Hawkins and Mel Franklin are at it again, seeking to protect their own political power and developers interests over the community. This past Tuesday, Council Chair Hawkins and Council Member Franklin presented two bills they hope will prevent the incoming Council Majority from enacting positive, community-centered zoning legislation or hearing most zoning cases.
Their bill, CB-91-2022 will amend the new Zoning Ordinance rules for enacting amendments to the Zoning Ordinance so as to require a Supermajority vote (8 votes) instead of the longstanding simple majority (6 votes). Hawkins and Franklin, in collaboration with other Council Members, have adopted countless friendly amendments to the Zoning Ordinance based on a simple majority vote. Now, they want to change the rules for an incoming Council Majority that they know will be accountable to the community instead of developers.
CB-92-2022 will amend the new Zoning Ordinance to prohibit the County Council from hearing zoning and site plan cases from the Planning Board and Zoning Hearing Examiner. For decades, zoning hearings have been a vehicle for the community to express their concerns. If enacted, there will be no hearings for the community, and only appeals will come before the council in limited circumstances. Developers have long wanted to eliminate public hearings to avoid accountability.
In another anti-democratic move regularly used by Hawkins and Franklin, CB-91-2022 & CB-92-2022 are being rushed through the legislative process to avoid public awareness and scrutiny. ALL Zoning Bills must be "Introduced" by Tuesday, September 20th. These bills have been assigned to the "PHED Committee", which must convene next week, BUT NO DATES HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED. This committee's members include current Council Members Mel Franklin, Calvin Hawkins, Todd Turner, Sydney Harrison, and Danielle Glaros. Many of this group of Council Members have a track record of trying to enact legislation that favors special interests groups over community stakeholders, always without community input, sometimes illegally as recent history has shown. The community has no way to plan to speak out against these bills at present.
HERE'S WHAT YOU CAN DO TO TAKE ACTION:
Progressive Maryland & PG Changemakers are working together to get the word out to the community so that we can stand up to these members, and let them know we oppose Council Bills 91 & 92 that seek to, once again, silence the voice and usurp the will of the voters by using our system of democracy to cater to developers and their own political power instead of their constituents.
Write to the Clerk of the Council asking that your comments be added to the record in CB-91-2022 & CB-92-2022. [email protected].
When the Committee date is announced, sign up to speak.
Write to the County Executive and demand that she take a stand for Democracy in Prince George’s County. [email protected].
Add your voice by signing the petition and/or send an email to your council members. Share them with friends and through your networks and ask them to pass them along. If the former Council Majority's failed attempt at illegal redistricting taught us anything, it is that when enough of us stand up together in solidarity and demand that our elected representatives do what's in the best interest of the people of this County, we WIN!
*The incoming Council Majority includes Wala Blegay, Ed Burroughs, Tom Dernoga, Jolene Ivey, Eric Olson and Krystal Oriadha (at least). These members have pledged to work together for a more transparent Council that works closer with communities and community leaders on land use and other matters.