PFA Workgroup Continues Deliberations

The Priority Funding Area (PFA) Workgroup of the Task Force on the Future of Growth and Development in Maryland met on November 19 to continue its deliberations on reforming PFAs.  The Workgroup agreed to organize issues around five key themes:  (1) redefining PFA criteria; (2) creating regulatory incentives for development inside PFAs and disincentives for development outside of PFAs; (3) creating revenue incentives for development inside of PFAs and disincentives for development outside of PFAs; (4) adopting performance-based growth goals; and (5) subdividing PFAs into “tiers” or “targeted areas” for State funding purposes.

Potential discussion areas include relaxing or eliminating APFO requirements inside of PFAs, requiring counties to include PFAs in their comprehensive plans, having a State land use commission certify PFAs and make legally nonbinding decisions on State/local disputes, and denying State permits for building projects outside of PFAs.

The PFA Workgroup also approved three reports recommending PFA review for new school buildings and sites (but not renovations or capacity expansions); having the State Public School Construction program adopt a non-binding 5-year funding plan; calculating the funding amount necessary to meet minimum education needs, similar to the 2004 Task Force to Study Public School Facilities recommendation; and further study of the use of vertical schools.

Frederick County Commission President Jan Gardner and MACo Associate Director Les Knapp are the MACo representatives on the Workgroup.  The next meeting of the Workgroup has not been scheduled.  The full Growth Task Force will meet on December 2.  For further information go to:

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