Southern Maryland Forum Discusses PlanMaryland Concerns

An April 27 article reports on a forum where State and Calvert and Saint Mary’s County planning officials discussed the implementation of PlanMaryland.  The event  featured Maryland Department of  Planning Services Director Richard Josephson, Calvert County Director of planning and Zoning Chuck Johnston, and Saint Mary’s County Director of Land Use and Growth Management Phillip Shire.  Many counties have been concerned that PlanMaryland could intrude on local land use decision-making and in the 2012 Session MACo introduced and the General Assembly passed legislation which clarified the Plan’s scope.  Both county planners indicated an increased level of comfort with the Plan but noted that the Plan will likely drive State funding decisions in the future.

 “We provide a policy. We say this is what the state would like the local jurisdictions to do,” Josephson said, stressing that the state cannot force any jurisdictions to comply. “We can do that in a way that’s collaborative, that’s cooperative, with those local jurisdictions.”

Addressing concerns that the state is using the plan to override local planning and zoning, Josephson said the state will feel the effects more.  …

“I was very critical of PlanMaryland when I first read the early drafts,” Shire said. But like Johnston, he has since come to realize it’s “not really drastically different from county plans we have had in the past.”  …

While Josephson maintains the entire plan is voluntary, both Shire and Johnston said they believe in time, if they do not adhere to it, their counties will be ineligible for state aid.

“It all has to do with allocation of available resources,” Shire said. “I have to accept that as part of the game, if we want to be eligible for funding, we have to more or less prove ourselves.”


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