MACo Associate Director Les Knapp testified in opposition to HB 1344 before the House Environmental Matters Committee on March 18. The bill, sponsored by Delegate Pam Beidle, would extend the tolling period of State and local building permits and approvals, applying retroactively to permits or approvals issued on January 1, 2008. The bill would apply to development permits, zoning special exceptions, zoning variances, site plan approvals, development plan approvals, initial or sketch plan approvals, and any other approval or agreement associated with an application for development or subdivision. Similar legislation was passed in 2009 and HB 1344 would essentially extend the legislation.
Mr. Knapp argued that local governments should make their own decisions on whether to toll or extend their own locally issued permits. He also cited several implementation problems with the bill, including the retroactive provisions. A representative from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation joined Mr. Knapp in opposing the bill.