County and municipal governments are working with the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) to transition from a 6-year to a 10-year comprehensive planning and zoning cycle. HB 409 and SB 671 of 2013 moved to a 10-year cycle, and, to the extent practicable, makes the cycle coincide with the release of data from the United States decennial census. The legislation also required a “check-up” at the 5-year point of a comprehensive plan’s adoption and was amended to clarify that a local government that adopted a growth tier under the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012 must integrate the tiers into its comprehensive plan when the plan would be next reviewed under the jurisdiction’s current 6-year cycle. As the bills were part of MACo’s 2013 Legislative Initiative package, MACo supported the bills.
In a September 1, 2015, MDP letter to local government planning directors, MDP reiterated the legislation’s 5-year check-up and growth tier requirements and also offered a timeline for moving forward. From the letter:
This legislation affects every jurisdiction. We request your review and comment on the draft Comprehensive Plan 10-Year Review Cycle Checklist prior to October 15, 2015. Once our report is finalized, it will be posted on the MDP 10-Year Review Cycle website, on or before December 1, 2015 ….
If your jurisdiction has any questions, comments, or concerns, please have your staff contact David Dahlstrom, Regional Planner, at 410-819-4084 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
County and municipal planners are holding a joint meeting on October 9 at the Maryland Municipal League to discuss and hopefully finalize transition details with MDP officials. MDP will also be discussing the transition at its Fall 2015 Maryland Planning Directors Roundtable on September 22.