In a move to increase transit oriented development in Prince George’s County, County Council Member Eric Olson (Dist. 3) is pushing three pieces of legislation that would simplify the development process and reduce fees for developers.
“We talk a lot about the need for transit oriented development and these three pieces of legislation can help us to focus that development right at Metro stations,” Olson said.
The first piece of legislation proposed by Olson (CB-6-2013) is intended to encourage development projects in Transportation District Overlay Zones (TDOZ), or within a quarter mile of a Metro station by condensing the Prince George’s County Planning Board process.
“We hear from the development community that we have a long and somewhat cumbersome development process,” Olson said. “My bill is a way to try and shorten the length of time to go through the approval process only at a Metro station.”
If passed, Olson’s resolution could save eight to nine months in the development process by condensing the length of the Conceptual Site Plan and the Detailed Site Plan stages while still allowing for public review.
“It still maintains safeguards for public hearings and the integrity of the planning board process,” Olson said. “It’s a balanced approach.”
A second county council resolution, CR-11-2013, supports the use of financial incentives to encourage transit oriented development.
Olson is also leading the charge for a piece of state legislation—PG 420-13, currently in the Maryland General Assembly—which would halve the school surcharge for developers building housing at Metro stations or TDOZs for five years.
The idea, said Olson, is that transit-oriented development is geared more towards younger, urban professionals and less towards families with children.
“If you get the housing, it will help stimulate more commercial and mixed use development that also pays taxes. You would actually make more money just getting the development built,” Olson said.
Fees like the school surcharge, said Olson, make Prince George’s County less competitive with other areas when it comes to attracting new development.
“We need to be competitive and our Metro stations are the place to be competitive," he added.