Additional Resources for Land Conservation Encouraged by Counties

On February 22, 2023, Associate Policy Director Dominic Butchko testified before the House Environment and Transportation Committee in support of HB 631 – Natural Resources – Land Conservation – Establishment of Goals and Programs (Maryland the Beautiful Act).

The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee will consider the bill’s cross-file, SB 470, on March 1.

HB 631 establishes sustainable, long-term goals and programs to accelerate and improve park land acquisition and encourage the development of community green spaces across Maryland. Specifically, the bill creates the Local Land Trust Revolving Loan Program to provide low-interest financing to land trusts who—in concert with local government— intend to purchase land for conservation purposes.

From the MACo Testimony:

The proposed Local Land Trust Revolving Loan Program (LLTRLP) will provide local governments with new resources to make their communities more sustainable, livable, and healthy. The LLTRLP is designed to provide low-interest financing to local land trusts that are working with county governments to acquire new green space. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, both state and local greenspaces were filled, often to capacity, as residents sought some form of healthy and safe recreation – it has become abundantly clear that these spaces offer immense value to neighborhoods across the state. The precise means to launch such a revolving loan program, and the sources for its “seed funding” are a matter of broader public policy, where counties defer to the Committee’s wisdom. But the goals of HB 631, to create a sustainable program to advance these goals, is meritorious.

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