Two Baltimore Sun opinion pieces offer two different responses to Governor Lawrence “Larry” Hogan’s recent announcement formally repealing PlanMaryland and embarking on the creation of a new State Development Plan. A Baltimore Sun editorial (2017-08-21) noted that Plan Maryland itself had not been officially supported for some time but argued that some type of state plan is necessary to “hold local jurisdictions accountable for sprawl development and other misguided land use decisions that harm the environment.” However, the editorial also acknowledged there may be a better way of achieving Smart Growth goals than Plan Maryland and that Hogan’s proposal deserved consideration. From the editorial:
To his credit, Governor Hogan didn’t say he was abandoning the environmental goals of Plan Maryland, only that he wanted the process to be more transparent and collaborative….But holding the feet of local government to the fire is easier said than done. …Still, Mr. Hogan deserves the benefit of the doubt. He has threaded this environmental needle before.
However, in a subsequent Baltimore Sun op-ed (2017-08-29), former Maryland Secretary of Planning Richard Hall (and primary Plan Maryland architect) disagreed with the editorial board and argued that Hogan’s “latest rolling back of smart growth and environmental efforts emerges from lies and misrepresentations and is wrapped in political opportunism.” Hall stated that local planning authority is derived from the State and that the State should have a role in land use decisions. Hall also touted Maryland’s Smart Growth accomplishments and expressed dismay over recent changes to the Maryland Department of Planning. Hall argued that Hogan’s proposal should not be supported:
For all the hot air about the evils of PlanMaryland, I have yet to seem [sic] any harm done by it. While I am a big fan of many local governments’ planning efforts, one still does not have to look very hard to see the damage done by poorly planned development. The Sun is naive in its point about giving Mr. Hogan the benefit of the doubt regarding his smart growth efforts. As Maya Angelou said: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
Conduit Street Article Explaining Hogan’s PlanMaryland Repeal and New Proposal