The segments below provide a brief overview of MACo’s work in the area of planning and zoning in the 2022 General Assembly.
Planning and zoning is an integral function of county governments and an area that spurs a high level of interaction with residents and business owners. In its planning & zoning advocacy, MACo seeks to protect the ability of local governments – those closest to the people and with the most insight into local needs for growth and reservation – to balance community and business interests.
The unique circumstances surrounding the 444th legislative session, including necessary health and safety measures, posed a challenge for lawmakers and advocates alike. Yet, despite the unusual circumstances, MACo’s advocacy still led to more positive outcomes for its members.
Accessory Dwelling Units
MACo opposed HB 1259 / SB 871. The bill would force all counties to arbitrarily override local planning and zoning laws, by removing local oversight of “accessory dwelling units” in residential areas. HB 1259 / SB 871 Accessory Dwelling Unit Authorization and Promotion Act failed in the General Assembly and awaits the Governor’s signature.
MACo supported HB 558 / SB 296. The bill expands the state definition of “agritourism” to include camping and incidental outdoor stays. HB 558 / SB 296 Land Use – Agritourism – Definition passed the General Assembly and awaits the Governor’s signature.
MACo supported HB 673 / SB 538. The bill expands the state definition of “agritourism” to include hosting agriculture-related special events and occasions and enables counties to adopt this model definition or their own standard based on local needs and conditions. HB 673 / SB 538 Land Use – Agritourism – Definition failed the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB156. This bill will grant more flexibility and resources to counties seeking to expand urban agriculture in their more developed regions. HB 156 Local Governments – Urban Agricultural Incentive Zones – Authorization failed in the General Assembly.
Reporting and Funds
MACo submitted a letter of information HB 705. This bill would mandate that county planning departments submit a yearly housing report to the Department of Planning. HB 705 Land Use – Reporting – Annual Reports and Development of New Housing failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB 61/SB 81. The bill gives Maryland’s charter counties more flexibility and leverage in enforcing local building codes. HB 61 / SB 81 Charter Counties – Enforcement of Local Building Performance Laws (Building Energy Performance Standards Act of 2022) failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB 1061 with amendments. The bill would allow counties, at their option, to establish a fund to deal with infrastructure issues in defunct condominiums and homeowners’ associations. Amendments could strengthen this authority by leveraging state funds to accelerate any needed remediation efforts. HB 1061 Local Governments – Condominium and Homeowners Associations – Repair and Rehabilitation Funds failed in the General Assembly.