MACo: Proposed Bill Would Usurp Local Land Use Decision-Making Authority

MACo offered written testimony in opposition of SB 366, Land Use – Department of Planning – Permit for Development Projects, to the Senate Education Health and Environmental Affairs Committee on February 16, 2016.

The bill would require a person to apply to the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) for a development project that: (1) involves the construction of a total of 50 or more parking spaces, including either all new spaces or when combined with existing spaces on the site; and (2) is located within one-half mile of a scenic byway. In reviewing the permit application, MDP must consider the impact the development project will have on the surrounding community, any comments received during the public comment period, and any other factors MDP considers necessary.

From the MACo testimony:

Local land use autonomy is among the foundational principles held by both county governments and MACo. SB 366 would unnecessarily intrude on that authority by having MDP make what has traditionally been a local determination on whether a development project comports with the nature and needs of a community.

State agencies like the State Highway Administration, MDP, and the Maryland Department of the Environment already possess numerous methods to offer input or persuade local land use decisions that affect their spheres of influence.

The bill would also create an additional burden and delay in what is already a long and thorough development review process. This imposes extra cost and further delay on both governmental and private development projects.

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