On September 18, Allegany County submitted a letter to representatives of the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) proposing three potential options of creating a temporary exemption process for the State’s forthcoming Accounting for Growth regulations (which are now expected to be released for public comment around mid-October). From the letter:
After careful analysis and discussion among our staff, as well as with MDE Science Services Administration personnel, we are writing to respectfully request that you consider provision for an exemption request process within the adopted regulations. Similar to the Tier IV exemption request process pursuant to the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012 (SB 236), this would provide an established and objective method for a jurisdiction seeking temporary exemption status from the AfG regulations.
The three options discussed by the County include: (1) load an analysis based on previous year population (comparing increased load from new development to decreased load due to declining population); (2) load analysis based on previous 2, 3, or 5 years of population; and (3) automatic exemption based on population. The letter argues for a temporary exemption process by stating:
Allegany County has experienced little or no growth (and often a decline), whether it be population or economic, in any given year for the last 40 years. With additional census data, we could likely document declines prior to 1970 as well. We acknowledge the usefulness and intent of AfgG regulations are sorely misdirected for our region. AfG will have harsh consequences for our community.