As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) Workgroup of the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission circulated a draft report on county and municipal APFOs for comment. The draft report summarizes 2-year reports that local governments have been required to submit to the Maryland Department of Planning on their use of APFOs and the effect of APFOs on slowing or stopping growth in Priority Funding Areas. The draft report also contained 12 recommendations regarding possible statewide changes to APFO requirements.
MACo circulated the report for county feedback and submitted comments on the report on May 7. MACo offered several general comments, errata, and notes on the report’s recommendations. From MACo’s comments on the draft report’s Recommendations # 1-5:
Recommendation #1: While APFO model guidelines can be helpful, the State should avoid imposing a “one-size-fits-all” solution on local governments. Counties may only need APFOs for specific services or circumstances and should be able to craft an APFO that meets their local needs.
Recommendation #2: Establishing minimum level of service (LOS) standards in PFAs is meaningless if the funding necessary to establish and maintain the LOS standards is lacking. Additionally, there is a potential “one-size-fits-all” problem.
Recommendations #3: Additional reporting requirements would impose further burdens on local governments and it should be noted that some of the proposed reporting information could prove sensitive or controversial.
Recommendation #4: While it should not become a habit to have extended moratoria under an APFO, setting a time limit on an APFO moratorium is meaningless if there is a capacity problem and no funding to solve the capacity problem. In fact, the capacity situation could be exacerbated if the APFO is waived without addressing the underlying capacity issue. Education on solutions, rather than a hard mandate, should be used to address overuse of extended moratoria.
Recommendation #5: Language should be added to the mitigation recommendation that acknowledges that mitigation is only effective if there is a commitment and actual follow-through from the developer. Many infrastructure issues cannot be partially mitigated (i.e., a county cannot build half a traffic signal or half a classroom).