Judge Rules in Favor of Poultry Farm in Eastern Shore Waterkeeper Alliance Water Pollution Case

A December 21 Capital Gazette article reports on favorable ruling for Perdue Farms and Eastern Shore family farm by a federal judge in a water pollution case brought by a consortium of environmental groups, including Assateauge Coastkeeper Kathy Phillips and the Assateague Coastal Trust and the New York-based Waterkeeper Alliance.  The plaintiffs were represented by members of the University of Maryland School of Law Environmental Law Clinic, which drew criticism from Governor Martin O'Malley and some legislators. U.S. District Judge William Nickerson found Thursday environmentalists…

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Social Media Report Card for District of Columbia

As reported in Governing, The District of Columbia is using social media in an effort to improve its agencies' services and motivate them to do better.  As reported, The District of Columbia has contracted with an Internet company to compile citizens' comments from social media, post them online and use it to create report cards for ten of the District's agencies, reports The Wall Street Journal.  Citizens and public workers can view the grades and the…

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Wicomico County Council Considers Limited “Opt Out” Proposal for Growth Tier 4

A December 18 Delmarva Now.com article discusses a proposal by the Wicomico County Council to allow certain landowners to opt out of being in Growth Tier 4 under the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012 (the septic system legislation). As part of that effort, the council wants to send postcards to land owners throughout the A1 zoned district except for those residents who have given up development rights, are in rural legacy programs or…

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New Worcester County Commercial Building Guidelines Taking Effect

A December 19 Delmarva Now.com article discusses the impact of new commercial building guidelines that the Worcester County Planning Commission adopted in 2009 as the first projects to be affected by the guidelines near completion.  The article notes that the guidelines are designed to avoid the traditional "strip mall" appearance and instead "incorporate traditional seaside colors, porches, and rooflines." Jennifer Burke, zoning administrator for Worcester County, oversees the permitting and zoning division and also reviews commercial site plans. She said the guidelines…

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Post-Sandy Discussion: Rebuilding for Resiliency

As reported in Governing, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, New York has created a commission to consider future infrastructure on Long Island and New York state. Rebuilding for increased resiliency is also a hot topic among planners throughout the Northeast, according to the article.  As described, At long last, the discussion about infrastructure on Long Island, and elsewhere in the Northeast hammered by Sandy, has moved beyond simply rebuilding and has focused on rethinking…

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IDOT Workgroup Issues Final Report

As previously reported on Conduit Street, an IDOT Study Group (evaluating the recently passed taxation of indemnity deeds of trusts in the same manner as other similar transactions) was established in July by the State Department of Assessments and Taxation(SDAT) pursuant to Senate Bill 1302 of the 2012 special session, State and Local Revenue and Financing Act of 2012.   After months of meetings, the group recently issued its final report. Besides summarizing the legislation that…

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Maryland Assocation of Counties Endorses the NACo Prescription Discount Card Program

The Maryland Association of Counties now officially endorses the NACo Prescription Discount Card Program, which is one of the largest discount programs in the country serving county residents. Since the NACo program began eight years ago, it has saved county residents nationwide more than $500 million. More than 40 million prescriptions have been filled through the program. Currently, 19 of Maryland's counties participate in the NACo program. The association considered many factors before making the endorsement. Those…

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Residential Property Values Continue to Decline

According to a recent press release from the State Department of Assessments and Taxation, assessment notices mailed to homeowners on December 28, 2012 reflect another decrease in residential property values. These properties were last assessed in 2009. Assessment notices mailed today to 678,763 property owners across the state reflect another decrease in real estate values for residential properties in Maryland. This group of properties was last valued in 2009. Over the past three years, residential…

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Bottle/Can Deposits Emerge As 2013 Focus

As reported in the Gazette, Maryland legislators are making plans to introduce legislation this session to create a bottle deposit program in Maryland. House Environmental Matters Chairwoman Maggie L. McIntosh said she and other lawmakers are planning to propose a statewide, 5-cent refundable deposit on recyclable beverage containers. Although it would raise the price of a beverage six-pack, for example, by 30 cents, purchasers could offset that cost by recycling their used beverage containers. Retailers…

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Federal Agencies Release FY 2013 Bay TMDL Action Plan

On December 18, a consortium of federal agencies released their FY 2013 action plan for the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).   The 47-page document outlines the policy and funding actions that various federal agencies will undertake during FY 2013 regarding the Bay. This Action Plan describes how federal funding proposed in the President’s Budget will be used to protect and restore the Bay during the upcoming fiscal year, October 1, 2012—September 30, 2013. The FY 2012…

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