In a June 25 Baltimore Sun op-ed, Maryland Secretary of Planning Richard Hall argued the benefits of redevelopment and discussed the State’s proposed Infill, Redevelopment, and Revitalization (IRR) Policy. Hall presented his case for redevelopment:
As we’ve learned over and over again, older, organic development patterns are often preferable to those driven by auto-dependent design. …
While not a new issue, the need to emphasize infill and redevelopment continues to increase as Maryland grows. Focusing on redevelopment improves quality of life by increasing access to jobs, shopping and services, and it boosts local economies. Contrast that to development in faraway, undeveloped areas, where we see the high cost of new infrastructure and other public services and the loss of farm and forest land, which help protect the Chesapeake Bay.
We are projected to add 1 million new Marylanders and 500,000 homes in the next 25 years. To accommodate that growth, it’s imperative that we make infill and redevelopment the norm.
In the op-ed, Hall also highlighted the ongoing work of the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission to develop the IRR Policy:
The commission, aided by [the Maryland Department of Planning], staff from other state smart growth agencies, developers and other stakeholders, is reviewing federal, state and local programs and analyzing the practices of many Maryland communities to gain insight into the best ways to create vibrant places with a range of housing, employment and transportation options.
Redevelopment provides environmental benefits by reinvesting in buildings and infrastructure, focusing growth where services exist rather than creating new development on tracts far from population centers. …
Smart growth is about protecting our forest and farm land and well-planned development. It is the yin and yang — you must have them together. Many of the smart growth debates of late have been about development we don’t want, we now need to focus more on the kind of development we do want.
Hall also discussed the State’s recent expansion of the Sustainable Communities Tax Credit to include certain small commercial businesses and the Maryland Department of Planning’s efforts to increase the reuse of older buildings.