The Governor’s Smart Growth Subcabinet heard about land use concerns from county officials at an open forum on December 7 at the 2016 MACo Winter Conference. The Subcabinet helps implement Maryland’s Smart Growth policy, including recommending to the Governor changes in State law, regulations, and procedures needed to support the policy. Maryland Secretary of Planning Wendi Peters chairs the Subcabinet.
The Subcabinet heard from representatives from MACo, Western Maryland, Southern Maryland, and Central Maryland on issues including:
- Continuing to support transit oriented development, redevelopment, and revitalization efforts in urban areas;
- Creating a new set of priority funding area criteria (PFA) that better addresses rural growth issues;
- Providing a stronger role for local zoning in the siting of energy generation facilities (per MACo’s 2017 Legislative Initiative);
- Addressing the loss of property rights created by the septic tier map tier 4 classification by allowing some flexibility in the tier definitions;
- Providing greater flexibility in the use of local Program Open Space (POS) funding;
- Creating a better transportation plan for areas between the Washington DC and Baltimore metropolitan regions;
- Addressing conflicts along the edges of abutting agricultural and residential zones; and
- Continuing water quality restoration efforts.
County officials also complimented the Maryland Department of Planning on undertaking a more collaborative approach in working with local governments.
Secretary Peters indicated that the comments made to the Subcabinet mirrored similar concerns MDP has heard throughout the state and that State agencies were already starting to look at some of the mentioned issues.