What’s In Governor Hogan’s PlanMaryland Repeal Executive Order?

Maryland Governor Lawrence “Larry” Hogan signed Executive Order 01.01.2017.18 on August 19, 2017, which formally repealed PlanMaryland, the previous State Development Plan, and formed a process for creating a new State Development Plan. This article summarizes the contents of that order and also answers several related questions.

What does the Executive Order do?

  1. Repeals PlanMaryland that was previously enacted under Executive Order 01.01.2011.22 by prior Governor Martin O’Malley.
  2. Requires the creation of a new State Development Plan by July 1, 2019, by the Maryland Department of Planning, in coordination and collaboration with the Smart Growth Subcabinet and the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission, local governments, and other stakeholders
  3. Requires State agencies to provide analysis and collaboration as needed to develop the new Plan and information
  4. Requires the new Plan to include two components: (i) guidelines that articulate the purpose and objectives of the Plan, including collaborative strategies essential for modern planning; and (ii) a State Planning Digital Resource Center that establishes a transparent and organized collection of State and local plans and related planning resources to plan and coordinate responsible growth and resource protection
  5. Specifies that the new planning strategies must serve four goals: (i) enriching the lives of Marylanders; (ii) using Smart Growth principles; (iii) growing responsibly; and (iv) protecting Maryland’s resources.
  6. Specifies that the strategies for growing responsibly and protecting Maryland’s resources should have five objectives: (i) supporting existing communities; (ii) creating quality places; (iii) coordinating State investment; (iv) natural resource preservation; and (v) cultural historical and heritage preservation
  7. Requires the identification of existing and proposed State agencies and digital resources to support each strategy of the new Plan

Does the State have to have a development plan?

Yes – Title 5 of the State Finance and Procurement Article requires MDP to create and from time to time revise a State Development Plan. This requirement has been in the law for decades but has not always been followed. The O’Malley Administration adopted PlanMaryland on December 16, 2011.

Are there any significant effects on county governments from the formal repeal of PlanMaryland?

No – PlanMaryland was essentially a “shelved” document even prior to Hogan’s election.

PlanMaryland had two main components: a horizontal integration and a vertical integration component. The horizontal integration component focused on state agencies better coordinating and communicating amongst themselves regarding land use and funding decisions. The systemic changes developed under the horizontal integration component can operate independently of PlanMaryland and may continue to exist and be modified as necessary. Horizontal integration funding strategies will be part of the new Plan as well. MACo has and will continue to support better horizontal integration at the State level.

The vertical component of PlanMaryland involved the State making funding/infrastructure decisions based on planning areas which overlaid the existing Priority Funding Areas and certain other designated lands. These planning areas were either proposed by local jurisdictions or designated by the State based on specified preservation and conservation criteria. MACo raised numerous concerns with the planning areas and questioned their need. Ultimately, only a few counties and municipalities elected to undertake the somewhat arduous planning area designation process and the O’Malley Administration eventually ceased emphasizing the planning areas.

How will MACo participate in the new State Development Plan?

As it did with PlanMaryland, MACo will participate and offer comments and suggestions on the new State Development Plan, in conjunction with county planners and other affected county stakeholders. MACo anticipates working closely with the Maryland Municipal League on the issue as well. MACo is waiting for further information regarding the collaborative development process detailed in the Executive Order.