“Crossroads” Forum Raises PlanMaryland, Land Use Concerns

As a follow-up to the October 31 event sponsored by Carroll County Government entitled “PlanMaryland:  At The Crossroads Forum,” the Carroll County website now hosts both video and printable presentations from the event.

To watch the presentations from the forum, or to download copies of the speaker presentations, click here.

County Commissioner Richard Rothschild, who served as a moderator for much of the forum’s discussions, offers this summary of the issues raised:

The PlanMaryland: At the Crossroads forum conducted on October 31st changed the narrative about PlanMaryland

• The forum challenged the scientific, environmental, economic, and quality of life premises in PlanMaryland. It was not about “global warming.”

• PlanMaryland’s enabling legislation, HB 807, clearly has language authorizing the state to trump local planning authority. Any attempt to claim otherwise is false.

• No cost/benefit analysis of global warming mitigation efforts was conducted by PlanMaryland. The state could spend trillions over the next forty years and the net change in global temperature would be less than 1/1000 of a degree.

• PlanMaryland claims sea level rise of 2 -10 feet over the next 100 years, but the Plan omitted newer satellite data that projects a rise of less than 2 inches.

• PlanMaryland exaggerated nitrate emissions from septic systems by adding fertilizer loads, and again appeared to exaggerate septic loads by comparing old-technology septic systems to new technology waste water treatment plants. In an apples-to-apples comparison, septic systems are comparable to Wastewater Treatment Plants. Furthermore, PlanMaryland estimated that septic contributions to Bay nitrates from all surrounding states totaled 4 percent. It failed to mention that Maryland’s contribution is less than 1.4 percent.

• PlanMaryland exaggerates the cost of automobile ownership while underestimating the cost of mass transit and overstating its efficacy. Within a 45 minute radius, a passenger can reach only 10 percent of available jobs with mass transit, versus 100 percent by car.

• Using the Plan’s actual examples, the forum demonstrated compact development was not as cost effective as suggested. On a per-household basis, assessed value of property would drop more than 50 percent – insufficient to fund public services.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, MACo has sent not only technical comments on PlanMaryland to the Maryland Department of Planning through the formal comment process, but by approval of its Board of Directors has also submitted a letter to the Governor identifying continued concerns with the proposed Plan and its implementation, and asking for a deferral of its final approval.

The Senate EHEA Committee is holding a public briefing to discuss PlanMaryland on Monday, and the Department of Planning has indicated that the final version of the plan will not be delivered to the Governor until after that time.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties

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