Planning Releases New Tools and Guidelines for Housing Element Development

The Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) has published new models and guidelines for housing elements in comprehensive plans. The new website includes data, best practices, and other useful resources for planning departments. MDP began the work to create the website and compile important resources after the passage of HB 1045 (2019) that requires jurisdictions include a housing element that addresses the need for affordable housing including workforce and low-income housing. During the 2020 Session the…

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Frosh Urges Trump to Withdraw Controversial Executive Order

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh is leading a coalition of Attorneys General in calling on President Trump to withdraw his controversial executive order designed to streamline infrastructure projects. Executive Order 13927 instructs federal agencies to use their emergency authority to quickly approve transportation and infrastructure projects while sidestepping many different environmental review processes outlined in landmark federal legislation such as the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Endangered Species Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act…

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California Passes First Ever Clean Trucks Rule

Yesterday, the California Air Resources Board adopted a rule requiring all trucks sold in the state to be zero-emission by 2045. California has issued the world's first clean truck rule that will require manufacturers to transition from diesel trucks and vans to electric zero-emission trucks beginning in 2024. By 2045 all truck sales in the state will have to be zero-emission. California estimates that trucks account for 70 percent of smog-causing pollution despite accounting for…

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Charles Developing Nuisance Flood Plan, Seeks Resident Input

The Charles County Department of Emergency Services is developing a plan for combating nuisance flooding in the county and is seeking resident input.  Nuisance flooding occurs during high tide when water levels are high enough to reach over the banks of waterways. Water from nuisance flooding spills onto roads causing traffic disruptions and into both commercial and residential areas causing damage to buildings and increasing stormwater pollution runoff. In an effort to protect areas from…

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Montgomery Establishes Local Business Preference for County Contracts

Yesterday, the Montgomery County Council approved a bill from County Executive Marc Elrich that would establish a preference for local businesses in the County procurement process. The bill is an effort to economic growth in the county. It creates a program that would provide a 10 percent price preference in evaluating bids from local businesses on a County contract. Local businesses will be certified eligible for the program by the Office of Procurement if their…

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Cecil DPW Manager Elected Chair of State Soil Conservation Committee

Cecil County Department of Public Works (DPW) Chief of the Stormwater Management Van Funk has been elected to serve as Chair of the State Soil Conservation Committee. The State Soil Conservation Committee provides guidance to the Maryland Department of Agriculture on issues such as soil conservation and water quality policy. The Committee is made up of members from various state departments and regional representatives. The Committee’s upcoming meeting is open to the public and will…

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MEA Announces Smart Energy Communities Grant Awards

The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) yesterday announced the award of $750,000 in Smart Energy Community grants across 19 jurisdictions. Grants are awarded for energy efficient measures, renewable energy installations, and transportation changes which reduce fossil fuel consumption. The grants are estimated to yield an annual energy cost savings of $403,000 in savings through local projects such as retrofits to existing buildings to increase energy efficiency. Awards range from $10,000 to $100,000 and funds are provided…

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How Planners Can Aid Public Health During a Pandemic

The American Planning Association is hosting a panel discussion to emphasize and describe how planners can adapt and help with pandemic response and recovery efforts on Thursday, June 25, 2020 from 1-2:30 p.m. The panel will discuss how local health departments operate, areas for collaboration between planners and public health departments during emergency situations, and the value of planning during and after a pandemic. The event will include breakout rooms for peer-to-peer interactions to give…

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Worcester to Launch Grant Program for Businesses and Ag Producers

This week the Worcester County Commissioners approved an outline for grants to businesses and agriculture producers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will be run through Worcester County Economic Development and will use $2.28 million in funds from the federal CARES act to award grants. Local businesses and agriculture producers are eligible for grants in varying amounts. Funds must be used for costs incurred since March of this year that are directly related to…

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Calvert Appoints New Deputy County Administrator

The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners today announced the appointment of Linda Vassallo as Deputy County Administrator. Vassallo will leave her current position as director of the Calvert County Department of Communications & Media Relations to begin her role as Deputy County Administrator in July. Vassallo has a long history in county government with over 24 years in many positions for Calvert County. “Linda is a staple in this community and has done tremendous…

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