Sustainable Growth Commission Takes On TDRs and APFOs At July Meeting

logo of Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission

The Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission met in Denton, Maryland, on 2016-07-25 to review a Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) report released by the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) and the research paper on the future of sustainable farming and forestry in the state. As previously reported on Conduit Street, earlier this year MDP convened a committee that reviewed TDR programs within Maryland and offered a variety of recommendations and best practices to improve their effectiveness. The sustainable farming and forestry report was supported by the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology.

The TDR report found four essential factors for the long-term success of a TDR program, including: (1) incentives to sell development rights; (2) incentives should exist in receiving zones; (3) TDRs should be the predominant option for bonus density; and (4) ideally, a TDR program should move development rights from rural to growth areas. The report also offered a series of options counties could take to work with receiving zones in or out of municipalities to improve the chance their chance of success.

The farming and forestry survey provided an overview of the agricultural and forestry sectors and made several conclusions:

  • Poultry/grains, nursery/horticulture, and emerging local/direct market opportunities were positive points for Maryland agriculture
  • Industrial livestock (including dairy) and large-scale commodities are struggling in a fragmented agricultural landscape.
  • While actually having more standing timber today than in 1914, the harvestable supply is land locked and fragmented.
  • Harvest challenges posed by owners, neighbors, and sediment and erosion control rules, as well as lack of market access and industry incentives are currently limiting factors for forestry.

The Commission also discussed revitalizing its Adequate Public Facilities (APFO) Workgroup and heard reports from its Reinvest Maryland, Rural Economies, and Education Workgroups. The APFO Workgroup has been in existence for several years but has not really been active for some time. The Workgroup will review the reports counties and municipalities are required to file regarding the impact their APFOs have on development.

Caroline County Commissioners Daniel Franklin, Larry Porter, and Wilbur Levengood Jr. and Denton Mayor Abigail McNinch welcomed Commission members to the county. Commission members also heard overview presentations from County and Denton staff. Commission members were also offered a walking tour of downtown Denton to view its redevelopment efforts prior to the start of the meeting. Maryland Delegate Jefferson Ghrist also attended the meeting.

The Commission’s next meeting will be on September 26 in Havre de Grace.

Useful Links

Sustainable Growth Commission Website

MDP TDR Committee Report

Caroline County Government Website

Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology Website