Sustainable Growth Commission Discusses Rural Smart Growth, Other Issues

The Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission held its May 13 meeting in the City of Frederick.  Frederick County Commission President Blaine Young and Frederick City Mayor Randy McClement welcomed the Commission and discussed the strengths and the growth philosophy of both the County and the City.  County and City planning officials also briefed the Commission on future growth plans.  A presentation was also made by Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) officials about the County’s development exemption under Tier IV of it septic system growth tier map.  The exemption allows for some additional development in the County’s agricultural preservation areas because of the County’s strong underlying zoning and land use protections.

Representatives from the National Center for Smart Growth made a presentation on the Sustainable Transformation of the Appalachian Region (STAR), which sparked a broader discussion amongst the Commission members on creating a different Smart Growth model for rural counties.  MACo continues to advocate for the creation of a rural growth model.

Maryland Senator Ron Young attended the meeting and proposed that the Commission support “zero energy” housing.  He also expressed concerns about the 2012 stormwater fee legislation, warning that the fee could “bankrupt” local businesses.  He indicated he was working on a potential legislation regarding the fee for the 2014 Session.

The Commission also received a 2013 Session wrap-up by State officials and Commission Chair Jon Laria noted that he hoped the Commission would have land use recommendations that would lead to “robust legislation” for the 2014 Session.

The Commission’s next meeting is scheduled for July 22 from 1:00 – 4:00 PM at the Glenview Mansion in the City of Rockville (111 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850).

The materials for the Commission meeting are available here.