Will the proposed Zoning Ordinance Update result in houses being built on tiny lots?

Proposed minimum lot areas for the various zoning districts are described in draft Articles 4 (Agricultural DistrictsPDF), 5 (Rural Residential DistrictsPDF), 6 (Residential DistrictsPDF), 7 (Commercial DistrictsPDF) and 8 (Industrial Districts).

For single family-detached development in the Farm and Forest District (FFD) and Rural Community District (RCD), the minimum lot area proposed is one acre (43,560 square feet). In the Rural Neighborhood District (RND) it is proposed to be 30,000 square feet, and in the Residential District (RD) it is proposed to be 30,000 square feet unless the lots are connected to sewerage service, in which case the minimum lot area can be reduced to 10,000 square feet (this minimum lot area reduction is permitted in the RD under the current regulations as well). 

Regardless of zoning district, all lots also require health department approval (and the health department requires a minimum 10,000 square foot area reserved for on-site septic systems). Under past zoning ordinances, minimum lot area permitted for lots not connected with sewerage service was as low as 20,000 square feet. Under the current Zoning Ordinance, minimum lot areas for single family detached lots outside town centers are one acre. This draft proposes to reduce the lot area minimums to 30,000 square feet in the Rural Neighborhood District (RND) and Residential District (RD), allowing a little more flexibility in terms of minimum lot size in areas closer to town centers. 

It should be noted that the draft Zoning Ordinance proposes to increase protective buffer areas from sensitive environmental features (streams, non-tidal wetlands, steep slopes) in new subdivisions. Allowing these sensitive and protected environmental features and their buffers on lots under an acre in size has led to issues with the buildable area on lots in the past, which is why the draft also proposes to not allow protective buffers from sensitive environmental features, or forest retention areas, to be located on lots one acre or less in size. 

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1. Why is the Calvert County Zoning Ordinance being updated?
2. Why is the Calvert County Zoning Ordinance Update process happening before the St. Leonard Master Plan Update and the updates to the other Town Center Master Plans?
3. What changes are being proposed for St. Leonard Town Center?
4. What is the Waterfront Community District (WCD)? Why has the WCD been proposed as part of the Zoning Ordinance update?
5. Why has the Waterfront Community District (WCD) been delineated the way it has been in the draft Zoning Map? Why is the WCD not limited strictly to waterfront properties?
6. Will the Waterfront Community District (WCD) cause property taxes to increase? Will it affect homeowner’s insurance? Will it make me change the deed to my property?
7. Will the Waterfront Community District (WCD) lead to more restrictions when making modifications to properties or dwellings?
8. Will the proposed Zoning Ordinance Update result in houses being built on tiny lots?
9. What are the differences in allowable residential density between districts?
10. What happened to the policy which allows for an increase in permitted residential densities within the one-mile radius/perimeter of town centers?
11. What are Growth Tiers and how are the relevant to zoning and residential density?
12. What type of development can be built in each zoning district?
13. How can we properly comment on draft Articles 4 through 8 without knowing the allowable uses?
14. How are the use tables changing between the current vs. draft Zoning Ordinance?
15. What do the acronyms represent on the Draft Zoning Map?
16. What are the differences between the Farm and Forest District (FFD) and Rural Community District (RCD)?
17. Why is there no longer a Wetlands District in the proposed draft zoning?
18. How will the proposed draft zoning districts effect a property that is also an Agricultural Preservation District?
19. What are the reasons and possible consequences of the proposed Industrial Districts in the area around Lusby?
20. Are there any new Residential District zones in the area around Lusby and Solomons? If so, what are the reasons and possible consequences?
21. Is it possible to publish a version of the proposed zoning ordinance update in black line so that the public can easily identify the suggested revisions on the County’s website?
22. How will the text amendment process be impacted by the Zoning Ordinance Update?
23. Is there a glossary of terms for those unfamiliar with the terminology used in the draft Zoning Ordinance?
24. Is there a mailing list to sign up for in order to keep informed about the Zoning Update process?
25. Are there regulations in the Floodplain Article that protect the environment?
26. Are there regulations in the Zoning Ordinance that protect streams outside of the Critical Area?
27. Is the new Zoning Ordinance going to change the residential density permitted in the Critical Area?
28. What studies were performed before the Floodplain and Critical Area articles were developed? Do they consider the impact of rising water levels?