Department of Planning Focused on Sustainable Communities Tax Credit

The Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) has only introduced two departmental bills this Session, with its primary focus being on legislation to extend and slightly expand the Maryland Sustainable Communities Tax Credit Program.

The Tax Credit Program is for the rehabilitation of historic commercial and residential property located in “sustainable communities”.  A sustainable community includes: (1) an area determined by the Smart Growth Subcabinet to meet certain planning and zoning criteria (including being within a Priority Funding Area) and show a need for revitalization; (2) a Base Realignment and Closure Revitalization and Incentive Zone, or (3) an area designated for transit-oriented development.

House Bill 510 would reauthorize the Tax Credit Program for five years.  The bill would also expand the credit’s availability to small commercial properties that are located in sustainable communities that include either a business or a mixed-use business/residence.  Current maximum project costs ($500,000) and tax credit limits ($50,000) are unchanged.  Recent projects include the conversion of an abandoned mill building in Cumberland into apartments and the conversion of a warehouse into an Arts Exchange Center in Brentwood.

Big Ideas at Brentwood Arts Exchange Photographed: 2011 By: Cassi Hayden

Brentwood Arts Exchange – Courtesy of Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission

Maryland Historical Trust 2014 Sustainable Communities Tax Credit Brochure

The House Ways and Means Committee will hear HB 510 on February 14.

MDP’s other departmental bill this Session is HB 346, which primarily focuses on clarifications to the review of certain capital projects by the Director of the Maryland Historical Trust.  The House Environmental Matters Committee heard the bill on February 6.