Sustainable Growth Commission Briefs Environment & Transportation Committee

Jon Laria, Chair of the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission, briefed members of the House Environment and Transportation Committee on January 20 about the nature and activities of the Commission.

Commission Chair Jon Laria described the history and makeup of the of the 34-member independent advisory body that studies Smart Growth and land use issues, noting that the Commission lacks regulatory authority.  Laria also discussed the activities of the Commission’s workgroups, including: (1) Concentrating Growth; (2) Education; (3) PlanMaryland; (4) Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances; (5) Indicators; (6) Housing; and (7) Rural Economies.

Referencing PlanMaryland, Laria noted that it had “become a lighting rod” but was essentially a “horizontal” document that sought to improve coordination among State agencies.  He expressed doubt that PlanMaryland would ever become more “vertical” and deal directly with local land use decisions.

Laria also spent time detailing the Commission’s Reinvest Maryland report, which recommends focusing growth efforts on infill, redevelopment, and revitalization as opposed to green field development.  He stressed that “one size doesn’t fit all”  and Smart Growth policies could benefit all jurisdictions but “just may look a little different” depending on whether you are in an urban, suburban, or rural setting.

He concluded his presentation by asserting there many opportunities for cooperation and collaboration among land use stakeholder and that the Commission was dedicated to “finding common ground.”

Video of Committee Briefing (Note: The audio appears to be corrupted)