Points Of Concern re: Council Bill 42-2015 a bill to create a Military Installation Overlay Zone (mioz) around Joint Base Andrews Our Objective: Council Bill 42-2015 the mioz bill – Concluding this is not a good bill. Why



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Points Of Concern
RE: Council Bill 42-2015 -- A bill to create a Military Installation Overlay Zone (MIOZ) around Joint Base Andrews

Our Objective: Council Bill 42-2015 -- the MIOZ bill – Concluding this is not a good bill. Why: It unfairly limits the development of new and existing churches, businesses, community services and other activities in the area around Joint Base Andrews.

What is the MIOZ? The MIOZ bill designates certain neighborhoods in the area around Joint Base Andrews as "safety zones" and imposes limits on new and existing construction in the safety zones. New apartments, hotels, clubs, recreation facilities and many other kinds of uses are prohibited outright. Existing facilities of these types cannot expand. New churches will be limited to 6000 square feet and most new restaurants to 3500 square feet. Some existing churches, restaurants and offices may be able to make small additions. The MIOZ bill also imposes height and noise restrictions on all properties.

Is the MIOZ bill mandatory? No. Military officials at Andrews can ask Prince George's County to pass an MIOZ bill, but the base cannot force the county to do so. In the past, Prince George's has resisted engaging in land use planning with the military.

Does the MIOZ bill make sense? No. The MIOZ is supposed to keep large concentrations of people from gathering in the safety zones to prevent massive injury in the event of an air crash. However, the MIOZ allows stores and shopping centers in the safety zones with no restrictions on size. The Forestville Plaza Shopping Center is in the safety zone, and the county actively encouraged its redevelopment with Rose's Department Store. The MIOZ bill also prohibits all museums and art galleries as "recreational facilities," even though many specialized museums and galleries are small undertakings that draw only a handful of people at a time. One of the largest concentrations of people in the safety zone occurs daily in traffic on the Beltway at Pennsylvania Avenue, a point that is completely ignored in the MIOZ bill. As these examples show, the MIOZ bill imposes a patchwork of restrictions that do not amount a meaningful public safety plan.
What has been done to stop the MIOZ? The MIOZ bill was supposed to be passed a year ago. The Concerned Citizens of the Faith Community and others testified before the County Council, wrote letters and signed petitions against the bill. The bill came back before the Council in 2015, with a few changes. The Council is set to pass the bill in September, when it comes back from its summer recess. The faith community needs your help over the summer to defeat this bill once and for all. At most, the bill should be amended to impose only height and noise restrictions.

How the MIOZ bill treats I-4

The revised MIOZ bill pretends to treat churches more favorably than the original bill because it allows churches (along with restaurants and offices) that are located in the safety zones to expand by 25 percent. Seethe MIOZ bill, CB 42-2015, at pages at-25-26. However, the right to expand does not apply if the church (or restaurant or office) is located in an I-4 (Industrial) or U-L-I (Urban Light Industrial) zone. A fair amount of the land in the safety zones is zoned I-4. Moreover, the MIOZ bill states elsewhere that one of its purposes is to encourage more land in the safety zones land to be rezoned to I-4. See the MIOZ bill at page 17.

Thus, what the MIOZ bill appears to give with one hand, it takes away with the other.

Additional Points of Concern

The Military Impact Overlay Zone (MIOZ) bill prohibits or restricts eight categories of land uses in the safety zones. Few, if any of these restrictions is absolutely necessary to protect Prince George's County residents, given the safety record at Joint Base Andrews, which has operated at least 50 years without an accident.



No need to restrict or prohibit certain uses.

There certainly is no need to prohibit or restrict any of the following land uses:



New churches are limited to 6000 square feet or 80 sanctuary seats, whichever is greater.

New restaurants can be no larger than 3500 square feet, unless they are in shopping centers, in which case they can be 6000 square feet.

Only very small new office buildings are permitted.

The unreasonable and arbitrary nature of the restrictions is plain. The chosen rules is plain. It makes no sense, for instance, to have one rule for restaurants in shopping centers and another rule for restaurants located anywhere else. Similarly, it is illogical to prohibit all recreation and entertainment activities without regard to how many people they are likely to attract. Art galleries and museums are very different from stadiums and may draw far fewer people, but all are treated exactly the same.


Also, why restrict office uses to very small structures while leaving shopping centers wholly unrestricted.

The stated purpose of the MIOZ is to prevent large concentrations of people. However, the numerous inconsistencies in the bill call into question whether that is the real purpose.

Also, even when the bill appears to confer a benefit, a closer look shows that the so-called benefit may be an empty promise. The 2015 version of the bill allows churches, restaurants and offices to expand by 25 percent. However, the right to expand does not apply if the church, restaurant or office is located in an I-4 (Industrial) or U-L-I (Urban Light Industrial) zone. A fair amount of the land in the safety zones is zoned I-4. Moreover, the MIOZ bill states elsewhere that one of its purposes is to encourage more land in the safety zones land to be rezoned to I-4. See the MIOZ bill at page 17. Thus, the ability to expand may not exist for a number of entities that thought the amended bill gave them a better deal than the 2014 version.

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1

The relevant section of CB42-2015 is 27.548 at page23-26



Environmental, height and noise restrictions are not automatically unreasonable.

The MIOZ bill prohibits Class III landfills, and transfer station, along with businesses involved in the sale and manufacture of explosives, fireworks or gunpowder.


The Faith Community does not object to these; nor does it object to the proposed height and noise restrictions contained in the bill.

We believe the MIOZ bill should stop with these restrictions, if it is enacted at all.



Vulnerable populations reasonably may be protected.

The MIOZ bill also prohibits public and private schools, senior citizens housing; daycare for adults or children; assisted living facilities and medical facilities.



These facilities serve individuals who are potentially too young, too old or too infirm to cope effectively with an emergency. While the faith community questions the need for an MIOZ bill in any form, it acknowledges that restricting these kinds of facilities is consistent with the stated purpose of the bill.




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