Sun Op-Ed: State Development Plan Can Bring Smart Growth Into 21st Century

As previously reported on Conduit Street, former Maryland Secretary of Planning Richard Hall has criticized the recent decision by Governor Lawrence “Larry” Hogan to repeal PlanMaryland and create a new State Development Plan while the editorial board of the Baltimore Sun was willing to give the Governor “the benefit of the doubt.” National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education Executive Director Gerrit Knaap adds a third perspective in a Baltimore Sun op-ed (2017-08-31). In the op-ed, Knaap viewed the PlanMaryland repeal not as the end of Smart Growth in Maryland but as an opportunity to bring Smart Growth into the 21st century. From the op-ed:

PlanMaryland was criticized by rural officials as usurping local land use control, but in reality, it simply placed existing state programs such as Priority Funding Areas, Rural Legacy areas, Sustainable Communities and other state designations on a single map to better coordinate existing state programs. It’s primary shortcoming, however, was that it did not provide a compelling vision for a 21st century Maryland. That vision is precisely what Maryland needs right now.

Knaap argued that Maryland needs a State Development Plan that addresses not only the state’s projected growth (1 million new people in the next 25 years) but also emergent issues such as climate change and sea level rise, transportation infrastructure for self-driving cars, and renewable energy technologies. Knaap stated that Hogan should work with key state and local stakeholders to develop a plan that promotes: (1) relevant Smart Growth practices; (2) balanced economic development; (3) adoption of renewable energy technologies; (4) resource conservation; (5) modern workforce development; and (6) equitable access to opportunities statewide.

Useful Links

Conduit Street Article on Richard Hall and Baltimore Sun Op-eds

National Center for Smart Growth and Education Webpage