MACo Associate Director Les Knapp testified in opposition to HB 493 before the House Environmental Matters Committee on February 18. The bill would extend the default term of a Developer Rights and Responsibilities Agreement (DRRA) from 5 to 10 years and restrict the ability of a local government to change ordinances, regulations, or policies impacting land under a DRRA unless there was an imminent threat to the health, safety, or welfare to the residents of all or part of that jurisdiction.
The bill’s sponsor, Delegate Galen Clagett, stated that many developments took longer than 5 years to implement and the bill’s provisions would provide more certainty to the process. The Maryland State Builders Association testified in support of the bill.
Mr. Knapp argued that the original 1995 DRRA law was the result of careful negotiations between MACo, the Maryland Municipal League, and the building community. He stated that changing the standard to “an imminent threat” did not make any sense, as the harm would likely ensue before the requested relief could be secured. He also pointed out that under the existing DRRA law, the agreement can be for longer than 5 years and that the agreement can be amended upon the mutual consent of both parties.