Broader View Matters on Municipal Incorporation Process

MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson testified on March 2 before the House Environment and Transportation Committee in opposition to HB 1226 Municipal Incorporation – County Commissioners or County Council – Required Approval of Referendum Request. This bill changes how a municipality is incorporated, taking away input and oversight from county governments.

From the MACo Testimony:

Under current and longstanding Maryland law, in order to incorporate, residents of an area must first petition the county governing body with their interest. The county then evaluates the potential effects of the possible incorporation on the surrounding area and the county at large, and determines through its own public process whether to submit the matter to a referendum of the affected area’s residents. HB 1226 effectively skips that middle step, and denies any input from areas affected by, but not geographically within, the proposed
incorporation.

The effects of such a change are far-reaching, and worrisome. This bill could jeopardize local zoning policies by creating an appealing avenue for development inconsistent with the overall county land use plans. During a vigorous development climate, builders frustrated by limitations of county-imposed laws such as Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances may see a new incorporation path as an avenue to skirt those limitations, and HB 1226 could advance that. The result could be overcrowding in school facilities and unmanageable burdens on public safety, infrastructure, and other county services.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2021 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.

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