Move could eliminate commercial zone in parts of Howard County’s rural crossroads

Howard County’s planning board will consider a proposal Thursday to abolish a zoning designation designed to spur commercial development in the rural crossroads of Dayton, Lisbon, Highland and Glenwood.

The proposal by council members Greg Fox, a District 5 Republican, and Mary Kay Sigaty, a District 4 Democrat, would remove the floating zone, called BRX, or business-rural crossroads, in response to community concerns that the zone applies a one-size-fits-all approach where the need for additional commercial development is questionable and, in some cases, unwarranted.

“The communities are saying this is not something they want,” Fox said. “We’re being responsive to the community.”

Created in 2013 during comprehensive rezoning, a major process that allows property owners to seek council approval for zoning changes every decade, the BRX zone allows developers to apply for approval of restaurants, convenience stores and other light commercial development through the county’s zoning board. During comprehensive rezoning, several Highland properties requested to change their zoning to commercial zoning.

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