MACo and the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) reached an agreement on amendments to MACo’s bill (HB 1201 / SB 532) that would codify the scope of the State Development Plan (ie PlanMaryland). MACo presented the amendments as part of its testimony before the House Environmental Matters Committee on March 8.
As amended, the bills states that the Plan may not be used to deny a State-issued permit or funding mandated by statute or regulation, or in the annual State operating or capital budget. The Plan does not supersede any state statute or regulation or local ordinance or regulation. The Plan does not affect the State’s delegation of planning and zoning powers to the local governments under the various land use statutes. Finally, the amended bill provides that the Plan may not require a local government to change or alter a local ordinance, regulation, or comprehensive plan.
MACo has never been opposed to the concept of a State Development Plan that served to better coordinate State agency policies and direct State funding. However, MACo has expressed serious concerns over the current Plan’s potential scope and breadth and believes the final version of the Plan could eventually be expanded to become a litmus test for State permits and approvals. The amended bill will more clearly define the role and scope of the Plan.
There are several key areas of the Plan that are still in development, including planning area designation criteria and the State’s implementation policies. MACo will continue to advocate that the Plan’s ongoing development process be open and collaborative.