Sustainable Growth Commission Approves Reinvest Maryland/IRR Report

August 28, 2014

logo of Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission

The Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission met on August 27 and unanimously approved a draft report and recommendations on “Reinvest Maryland” – formerly known as the Infill, Redevelopment, and Revitalization (IRR) Policy.  The Commission also approved several changes proposed by MACo Commission representatives Talbot County Planning Director Sandy Coyman and Harford County Council Member Mary Ann Lisanti.

The Commission plans to submit the final report to Governor Martin O’Malley and Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown in early September.  MACo will publish and summarize the final report once it is available.

Reinvest Maryland August 22 Draft Report (does not include proposed MACo changes)

Prior Conduit Street Coverage of Reinvest Maryland/IRR Policy

Applications for 2015 Maryland Sustainable Growth Awards Due September 19

August 27, 2014

The Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission is seeking nominations for the 2015 Sustainable Growth Awards. Time is running out…applications are due September 19!

Sustainable_03sFrom the announcement:

Know someone leading initiatives to advance community revitalization or resource protection? The time is now to apply for a Sustainable Growth Award, which highlights people and projects that advance smart growth and effective stewardship and, by extension, create quality communities.

Applications are due September 19. Visit to learn more and for information about how to apply.

The contest is judged by the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission. Each winter, the commission hosts an awards ceremony as part of a forum that showcases smart growth principles. All Maryland organizations and individuals are eligible to apply; self-nominations are encouraged.

Read about a 2014 winner in our recent Smart Growth Maryland blog post.

CoastSmart Communities Program Offers Technical Assistance for Flooding & Sea Level Rise Risk Assessment

August 7, 2014

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ CoastSmart Communities Program is offering free technical assistance to communities to undertake risk assessment and planning for flooding, storm surges, increased precipitation and sea level rise.  The following information comes from a recent announcement:

Do you need FREE Technical Assistance to help understand and plan for the RISK associated with FLOODING, STORM SURGE, INCREASED PRECIPITATION & SEA LEVEL RISE

If YES, then APPLY to work collaboratively with the CoastSmart Communities Program & NOAA to assess risk and vulnerability in your Community.   

How will this benefit my Community?

  • Identify what and who is at risk in your community
  • Visualize the risk (i.e display maps & data layers)
  • Provide information that can be incorporated into short & long term planning, hazard mitigation and emergency management
  • Access to experts from Dept of Natural Resources, NOAA and MORE
  • Position your community to be more competitive when applying for grant funds through the CoastSmart Communities program
What services will be provided to my community?
  • FREE Technical Assistance
  • Synthesis and analysis of data and information that can be integrated into existing planning processes
  • Develop products that are driven by the community’s needs that can be used to aid response, recovery, and resiliency

What commitments will this require of my community?

  • Identify a point person to be part of the project team & participate in monthly calls/meetings
  • Project length–September 1, 2014–October 31, 2015
  • Local personnel will spend on average 10 hrs per month
  • Multiple departments participate in  up to 3 in person meetings
Who Should Apply?
  • Communities that have started planning and implementing measures to reduce the impacts of flooding but have not done an integrated assessment on who and what is at risk.
  • Communities that are planning updates to their hazard mitigation, emergency management, comprehensive or other existing plans.
How do I Apply?
  • Fill out the APPLICATION FORM
  • Submit application to Sasha Land ( by Wed, Aug 20, 2014
What happens after I Apply?
  • Your application will be reviewed by the project team
  • The top two communities will be contacted by the community team to discuss application
  • ONE Community will be selected

The Project Team consists of experts from the CoastSmart Communities Program, the MD Coastal Training Program & NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science.  The intent is to link data, science and information to local planning processes for response, recovery and resilience to the impacts of flooding and changes in climate.

Missouri Adopts Right-To-Farm Constitutional Amendment

August 7, 2014

An August 6 Governing article reported that Missouri voters appear to have narrowly adopted a right to farm state constitutional amendment, although a recount is likely.  The article noted that with passage of the  amendment, Missouri will join North Dakota as the only two states with a constitutional right to farm.   From the article:

Supporters, backed by the Missouri Farm Bureau, argued farmers need greater protection from the kinds of food or agricultural regulations that have gained traction in recent years, such as bans on the use of genetically modified seeds, labeling requirements for foods that include genetically modified ingredients, restrictions on dog breeding, setback rules and efforts to address animal treatment in large livestock operations. They freely acknowledged that pushing for those types of laws would be harder if farming were a constitutional right.

Opponents included smaller farmers, animals rights groups, sustainable agriculture organizations and critics of corporate food practices. They noted that Missouri farmers, like those in every other state, already have protection from nuisance complaints. They also noted that the actual wording of the amendment differed from what voters saw in voting booths. There’s no mention of “citizens,” for instance, which critics argue will allow multi-national companies to expand their presence in the state and fend off regulation aimed at more controversial practices, such as the use of antibiotics in animal feed, which has been linked to more drug-resistant infections.

An earlier August 1 Governing article further explored the positions of the proponents and opponents of the amendment and detailed prior attempts in other states:

But the only state to enshrine a “right-to-farm” law in its constitution is North Dakota, which did so in 2012. The amendment there passed by an overwhelming 67 percent.  …

Indiana’s legislature tried to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot in recent years but settled for a stronger statute when it couldn’t get enough votes, [University of Missouri professor emeritus of agriculture John] Ikerd said. Other states, including Utah and Iowa, have pushed so-called “ag-gag” bills, which criminalize the work of undercover journalists taking photographs or shooting video of large livestock operations, which have been linked to the spread of more resistant bacteria strains because they use antibiotics in animal feed.

Sustainable Growth Commission to Examine Rural Economic Development & Growth Issues

August 1, 2014

logo of Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission

In addition to discussing the Infill, Redevelopment, and Revitalization (IRR) Policy, the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission also discussed a renewed interest in examining rural Smart Growth issues at its July 28th meeting.

Agricultural Advocate and former Calvert County planner Greg Bowen was recently asked to chair the Commission’s Rural Economics Workgroup, which will focus on examining rural economic development and growth challenges.

Initially, the Workgroup will consider an action plan to bolster rural industries (farm, forestry, etc.).  The group could also expand its inquiry into Smart Growth challenges faced by rural jurisdictions.  MACo has long advocated and examination and where appropriate modification of the State’s Smart Growth policies to better address rural issues.

Any county officials interested in participating on the Rural Economics Workgroup or any subgroup should contact Les Knapp at 410.296.0043 /



Sustainable Growth Commission Ponders Key IRR Recommendations

July 31, 2014

Infill, Redevelopment & Revistalization







The Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission considered a list of key or “headline” recommendations for its Infill, Redevelopment, and Revitalization (IRR) Policy at its July 28th meeting.  While the Commission is still considering all 85 recommendations from the current draft, the members agreed that a smaller subset should receive special focus.  The headline list focuses on 27 recommendations, often combining language from several recommendations in the full draft.  The recommendations cover focusing the State’s resources (water/sewer, roadways, schools/libraries, and economic development) in targeted redevelopment and revitalization areas, promoting equitable development, and furthering transit-oriented-development goals.

The Commission generally agreed that 27 was still too many to highlight and will likely narrow the list of headline recommendations further.  MACo’s representatives on the Commission and MACo staff continue to participate in the Commission’s deliberations.

Prior Conduit Street Coverage of the IRR Policy

Sustainable Growth Commission Releases Revised IRR Draft

July 23, 2014

Infill, Redevelopment & Revistalization







On July 21 the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission released a preliminary draft of its proposed Infill, Redevelopment, and Revitalization (IRR) Policy for public comment.  The preliminary draft is an updated version of an earlier draft circulated at various public forums and commented upon by MACo.

June 25 Draft IRR Recommendations

MACo’s Comments on June 25 Draft IRR Recommendations

July 22 Updated IRR Recommendations

Governor Martin O’Malley and Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown sent a letter to Commission on January 22, 2014, requesting that the Commission make recommendations ““to accelerate Maryland’s infill, redevelopment, and revitalization efforts.”  In response, the Commission has considered a wide range of statutory, regulatory, fiscal, and policy proposals to increase the use of IRR.  Some of these proposals would provide additional tools to local land use planners while others would impose land use and taxation mandates.

The Commission will meet on July 28 from 1:00 – 4:00 PM at the Talbot County Library (100 West Dover Street, Easton, MD 21601) to discuss the updated recommendations.  Public comments will be accepted through August 20.  The Commission expects to adopt a final version of the recommendations on August 27.  The Commission’s deadline for submitting its recommendations is August 31.

Sustainable Growth Commission July 22 Press Release

Conduit Street Coverage of the IRR Policy

Commission Chair Jon Laria will take part in an IRR Panel at the 2014 MACo Summer Conference.  Click here for further information on the panel, entitled “Is IRR Maryland’s Next Big Land Use Policy?”

Learn more about MACo’s 2014 Summer Conference:

Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White with questions about Summer Conference.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,300 other followers