Citizen Participation: You are in the Mix
A sense of vision is essential to developing a successful, sustainable community. A well thought out master (or comprehensive) plan can help a community achieve that vision. This plan considers all of the complex facets of a community — such as neighborhoods, downtown, parks, farmland, transportation and public services. Such a plan can clearly state where the community wants to go and what it needs to do to get there. In Maryland, local plans are reviewed every six years and active citizen participation is an essential piece of the puzzle.
Citizen participation is a vital component of the local planning process. Watch for signs posted on land proposed for development. Also, check notices in the legal section of local newspapers for zoning or master plan update hearings, or on your local government web-site. Public hearings are advertised to encourage participation and solicit input from you, the citizen. So, SPEAK UP. You have a voice and you have a choice.
- Read your local comprehensive plan.
- Work with developers and your local planning staff to encourage compact development and preservation of open space.
- Attend posted public hearings and comment on planning and development decisions.
- Consider forming or joining a local organization to serve as a local watchdog over planning and growth in your community.
What You Can Do:
- Become familiar with your area's Master Plan and zoning laws.
- Comment on land-use proposals that affect you and your community.
- Attend local planning board or planning commission hearings and speak up.
- Talk to your neighbors about community issues and what you can do to affect them.
- Be a good neighbor - be considerate about noise, parking and other issues.
- Work with government officials and community leaders because YOU, the citizen can aid in planning what happens to your community, what gets built where and how it looks, and what is preserved.
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