Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance:Purpose of Tool:
Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances (APFOs) are implemented to ensure that when new development occurs, adequate public facilities and services are available, as well as consistency with locally approved Comprehensive Plans and Capital Improvement Programs.
Benefits of Using Tool:
Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances can help counties and municipalities manage growth, including unexpected growth spurts, by controlling the timing of new development. Other benefits include:
Steps Involved to Use Tool:
Before establishing an APFO, a local community should have other planning practices in place. These include a Comprehensive Plan or community master plan defining anticipated intensity and location of future growth, as well a public facilities and service assessment defining the level of infrastructure necessary to support the anticipated growth. Zoning should also be in place to support the comprehensive plan and the overall approach to providing public infrastructure. The Capital Improvement Program should phase public facility investment in a manner that is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan land use component and zoning ordinances.
Once the planning framework is set, APFOs may be implemented to strengthen the development approval process. The general steps below outline how to establish an APFO.
1. A community must determine what facilities to include in the APFO based on jurisdiction and community goals.
2. Through a public process, set standards for each kind of facility (level of service for roads, sewerage capacity, school enrollment, etc.).
3. Establish capacity of existing system and how to measure impacts of proposed developments.
4. Establish means for developers to meet APFO requirements, either by constructing or improving existing facilities to meet the standard, paying proportionate share of costs to bring facilities up to standard, or by delaying development until public facilities are constructed or improved.
5. Establish administrative and accounting system to manage APFO.
6. Test impacts on a range of proposed developments including residential, commercial, industrial and institutional uses as appropriate to the local community.
Special Requirements to Use Tool:
The State must have legislation in place that enables local jurisdictions to pass and to enforce APFOs. The adopting jurisdiction must have a standard for determining and/or tracking:
Specials Resources Needed to Use Tool:
A locally adopted Comprehensive Plan, Capital Improvement Plan and a development approval process are recommended in order to apply the APFO. Other needed resources include:
Additionally, the Maryland Department of Planning recommends complementary strategies to ensure that the APFO achieves its intended goals :
Communities / Agencies that Have Used Tool:
This tool has been applied by local jurisdictions in the state of Maryland. Frederick County has an APFO, which was adopted in 1998, that applies to road, water, sewerage and school facilities. Contact:
Maryland Department of Planning
301 W. Preston Street, Suite 1101
Baltimore, MD 21201
Metrics to Use to Monitor Tool Effectiveness:
Metrics used to measure the success of an APFO can vary by jurisdiction; however there are several that have broad-based applications. These include:
List of Resources to Obtain Additional Info:
Information and additional resources may be found in the following areas:
Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances (APFO) – Managing Maryland’s Growth
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control Model APFO http://www.scdhec.net/environment/baq/docs/ModelOrdinances/AdequatePublicFacilitiesOrdinance.pdf
Citations1 Maryland Department of Planning, Model and Guidelines #24 Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances