At the December 11 meeting of the Maryland Planning Directors’ Roundtable, Maryland Secretary of Planning Richard Hall reminisced about key policies that he has helped enact during his 8-year term as head of the Maryland Department of Planning. He cited the state’s development plan, PlanMaryland, as a policy document aimed at improving communication between state agencies. He credited the 2012 septic tier legislation (SB 236) as helping to preserve farmland and environmentally sensitive land. Hall also expressed pride in efforts to better focus state and local spending efforts through GreenPrint, AgPrint, GrowthPrint and the recent Reinvest Maryland recommendations proposed by the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission and the consolidation of various state aid programs under the Sustainable Communities banner. Finally, he noted the new planning commission and board of appeal education requirements that are now in place.
Hall is also responsible for revitalizing the previously defunct Roundtable and his presentation was followed by a short summary of some of the Roundtable’s key presentations and issue discussions over the last several years.
Roundtable attendees also received a briefing about the Children in Nature and Health Partnership and a recent Maryland Attorney General Opinion which concluded that the legislative bodies of non-charter counties and municipalities cannot substantively amend a comprehensive plan submitted to them by a planning commission. In response to the Opinion, MML plans to introduce corrective legislation as one of its 2015 Legislative Priorities.