League of Women Voters on Development Rights and Responsibilities Agreements

Below is a press release from the League of Women Voters of Frederick County regarding their excellent and just-released position paper on the general and specific use of Development Rights and Responsibilities Agreements in Frederick County, including links to the primary document, a shorter piece with highlights and a one page piece outlining the league’s position and recommendations.

For Immediate Release

Contact:

Melanie Cox, President LWVFC—410-802-3794 or email sharon398@verizon.net

League of Women Voters of Frederick County Announces Position on
Development Rights and Responsibilities Agreements

LWVlogosquareFrederick, Maryland —- October 15, 2014 — The League of Women Voters of Frederick County (LWVFC) has released its position paper on Development Rights and Responsibilities Agreements (DRRAs), a tool used by county government in land use planning.

“Members of local LWV groups research issues of particular importance to the work of local government, come to consensus and report on the issues to give citizens facts to use in their decision-making,” explained Melanie Cox, President, LWVFC. “We are proud to present our report and position on the use in DRRAs in Frederick County.”

LWVFC recommends that DRRAs be used strategically for high-density development projects in defined areas, to secure public infrastructure contributions from developers that are significantly greater than would otherwise be required.

The League’s position paper includes uses of DRRAs that the group opposes, items its supports and recommendations for future DRRA proposals. Among those, the League:

    • Opposes a 20-25 year time frame for DRRAs, which limits the flexibility of future county leaders and developers in reacting to changing conditions.

    • Supports DRRAs that limit freezing laws to include only use, density and intensity without freezing other development laws or fees.

    • Recommends that each DRRA proposal should provide an analysis, available to the public, that clearly defines the benefits to the county and its citizens beyond what would be provided through the standard development process.

“Noting that the county’s Impacts on Growth Task Force report indicates that current revenue sources are not sufficient to provide the public facilities required by growth the League of Women Voters of Frederick County urges the county’s elected leaders to initiate public discussion on projected public infrastructure needs, on current sources and levels of funding, and on how to pay for these needs.”

LWVlogonatlThe complete position paper, DRRA fact sheet and fact sheet excerpts, are available at http://frederick1.lwvmd.org/n/

You can also download it here (as a 1.3MB PDF file): FACT SHEET ON THE USE AND IMPACT OF DRRAS IN FREDERICK COUNTY.

From the LWV site, you can open or download this shorter piece (as a 261KB PDF file):, which highlights Excerpts from Fact Sheet on the Use and Impact of DRRAs in Frederick County

And you can open or download this (as a 261KB PDF file): League of Women Voters of Frederick County Position on DRRAs

The position statement begins with:

“The League of Women Voters of Frederick County (LWVFC) recognizes that Development Rights and Responsibilities Agreements (DRRAs) are only one tool for planning in Frederick County. LWVFC recommends that DRRAs be used strategically for high-density development projects in defined areas, to secure public infrastructure contributions from developers that are significantly greater than would otherwise be required. DRRAs are a tool created by the Maryland General Assembly in 1995 to address late ‘vesting’ in light of the changing character of development projects. Projects were becoming larger and more complex, requiring capital-intensive infrastructure and longer lead time before building could get under way.

Under Maryland law the ability to develop property for a specific use can be subject to a change in local land use laws up until construction is noticeable. DRRAs provide for earlier vesting and ‘freeze’ county land management laws for a length of time agreed upon by the county and the developer. The state legislation provides flexibility in implementation to local jurisdictions, with inadequate limitations or direction in its appropriate uses. As land is a finite resource, and all residents are affected by land use decisions, public participation and transparency are essential in the planning and decision-making process.”

Click on the link to see details about what LWVFC opposes about the county’s use of DRRAs, what LWVFC supports regarding the use of DRRAs, and what LWVFC recommends that each DRRA should include.


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Mission: The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.