MACo’s Associate Director, Les Knapp, Jr. testified February 24 before the House Environmental Matters Committee in opposition to House Bill 1050. The bill, sponsored by Delegate Pam Beidle, would toll (freeze) the running period of various State and local construction and development permits and approvals issued since January 1, 2008. The lifespan of these permits and approvals would be tolled from January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2012. Their normal expiration countdown would then resume January 1, 2013. As an example, if a permit with a 1-year duration was issued in January of 2008, under the bill the permit’s duration would be 6 years, until December 31, 2013.
MACo argued that the bill would: (1) intrude on the authority of local governments to issue and manage their own building permits and approvals; (2) limit the ability of counties to address Smart Growth and environmental challenges that have arisen since 2008; (3) raise significant implementation issues, especially concerning the retroactive application; (4) potentially expose county governments to additional risks due to bonding issues; and (5) not truly protect important development projects because it exempts certain State water permits from the tolling requirement and does not address the lack of available capital and financing in the marketplace.
Representatives from the building and development community supported the bill. Joining MACo in opposition were representatives from 1000 Friends of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.