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Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO)


Housing development must be in compliance with the County General Plan and adhere to the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO).  The APFO was originally enacted in 1992, and was supposed to ensure that development would not outpace County services.  Under current APFO, fire and emergency service availability, and high school capacity, are not considered, and elementary or middle schools have to be at 115% of capacity before a four-year building moratorium is imposed.  The normal development process usually takes three years, so in effect our current law only gives the County an extra year of breathing room. The County needs more time to catch up with development.  Fire and rescue availability, and high school capacity, need to considered; and any moratorium needs to kick in at 100%, not 115%, of capacity.


Jim's Eight Takes on the HoCo APFO Bill

There are 8 proposed amendments to CB1-2018 (APFO). Here's my take on all eight: #1 - Limit the redistribution of residential units to final developments plans that are not using CEPPAs (community enhancements, programs and public amenities) - SUPPORT #2 - Allow higher capacity limits for individual schools where such school's region is under 100% capacity or, in the case of high schools, the region is under 105% capacity - SUPPORT WITH MODIFICATION: The amendment limits the capacity increase to 5% for individual elementary and middle schools, but has no limit to the increase for high schools. I believe the 5% increase should apply to high schools as well. #3 - Create a process to balance schools and affordable housing - OPPOSE: The process strikes me as quite subjective and potentially opens a huge loophole to APFO. #4 - Increase re-testing provisions for school capacity from 3 years to 6 years - SUPPORT WITH MODIFICATION: I believe doubling the testing period in one feel swoop is too drastic. I support an increase to 4 years now. #5 - Modify roads test provisions - MOSTLY OPPOSE: this amendment has four major components (1) increase the limit for the lowest level of review from 50 peak hour trips to 99 (NO); (2) decrease the area limits for traffic analysis from 2 miles to 1.5 miles (NO); (3) changing the intersections to be analyzed from signalized intersections to intersection of two major collector or higher level roads (NO); (4) develop a procedure where the DPZ may extend or reduce the traffic impact study area after a meeting with the developer (YES, BUT, there needs to be some process to allow community input in any such decision). #6 - Delays application of the capacity test for high schools for 4 years - OPPOSE #7 - Lowers school capacity limits for elementary schools to 100% (from 105%), middle schools to 105% (from 110%) and high schools to 110% (from 115%) - SUPPORT WITH MODIFICATION: I consistently testified in favor of racheting down the limits over time. I believe this provision should have an effective date 4 years in the future. #8 - Include police, fire and health care in APFO analysis - SUPPORT WITH MODIFICATION: I have consistently testified in favor of expanding APFO to police and fire; they are provided by County government. Howard County General Hospital is not a government agency, and we should not cede government decisions to a non-governmental agency, so the health care component should be deleted.

Howard County Council legislative work session on the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance

I just got home from the Howard County Council legislative work session on the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance. The first part of the work session was a review of the Economic and Fiscal Analysis report prepared by the Economic Development Authority…/HoCo%20APFO%20Presentation%….. The authors did not do a good job in explaining their report, and admitted to confusion about Howard County budgeting procedures in their fiscal analysis. Several Council members (including Greg Fox) and, later, Board of Education members, criticized the report for focusing on lost revenues without considering cost savings.


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