In an opinion piece posted on the Smart Growth Maryland blog, Department of Planning Secretary Rich Hall defends the state’s record of “smart growth” programs, and refutes claims made directly and indirectly by Anirban Basu during a recent presentation to the Maryland Rural Counties Coalition summit.
In his presentation, Basu blamed state growth policies for the slow economic recovery in rural Maryland.
Basu fails to acknowledge that Maryland’s smart growth policies are focused on limiting large-lot residential development on forest and agricultural land. The focus is not to limit commercial and industrial development. If anything, smart growth strengthens the agricultural economies of rural counties by making it easier to maintain large swaths of productive agricultural land. At the same time, smart growth policies – which spawned such programs as the Sustainable Communities initiative – target public resources toward revitalizing rural Maryland towns.