MACo Opposes Transportation APFO Legislation

MACo Legal and Policy Counsel Les Knapp opposed legislation (HB 442) that would restrict counties from changing or applying their transportation adequate public facility ordinances (APFOs) before the House Environment and Transportation Committee on February 9, 2016. Delegate Eric Bromwell introduced the bill.

The bill would prohibit a county with a transportation APFO in place as of January 1, 2016, from ever changing or amending that APFO. Furthermore, the bill would allow the State Highway Administration (SHA) to determine when the county APFO threshold has been triggered for projects involving a state highway intersection. From the MACo testimony:

As MACo has testified many times before this Committee, APFOs are a valuable growth management and land use tool that can trigger when adequate infrastructure does not exist to handle new development. A variety of counties and municipalities have APFOs for critical infrastructure such as schools, water, public safety, and even services such as solid waste disposal. …

Local land use autonomy is among the foundational principles held by both county governments and MACo. HB 442 would unnecessarily intrude on that authority by having the State Highway Administration (SHA) make what has traditionally been a local determination on whether an APFO threshold has been triggered. State agencies like SHA, the Maryland Department of Planning, and the Maryland Department of the Environment already possess numerous methods to offer input or influence land use decisions that affect their spheres of influence.

The Maryland Homebuilders Association and NAIOP (the commercial real estate development association) also testified in opposition to the bill. An identical cross-filed bill, SB 303, will be heard in the Senate at a later date.

Useful Links

HB 442

MACo Testimony on HB 442

Committee Hearing on HB 442

Delegate Eric Bromwell Webpage

For more on 2016 MACo legislation, visit the Legislative Database.