Counties Struggle With Stormwater Treatment Requirements

A Bay Journal article (2019-04-01) provided an in-depth analysis of the struggles county governments face in addressing pollution caused by stormwater runoff. All counties must achieve some level of stormwater runoff reduction under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load and many counties, particularly urban jurisdictions, must achieve specific goals under their Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permits. The MS4 permits require the retrofitting of existing impervious surface and stormwater treatment facilities with green infrastructure that…

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Have Questions About Forests or Trees? Get Answers at MDP’s New Forest Planning Resource Webpage

A Maryland Planning Blog article (2019-04-10) highlighted the Maryland Department of Planning's (MDP's) new Forest Planning Resource webpage, which provides useful tools and information about designating protected forest lands, establishing urban tree canopies, and protecting trees during the development process. The webpage was developed by MDP, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and the Sustainable Forestry Council based on requirements in the Forest Preservation Act of 2013 (HB 706). That legislation required the State provide…

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New Ellicott City Flood Scenarios Call for the Demolition of 4-6 Downtown Buildings

A Daily Record article (2019-04-17) reported that Howard County Executive Calvin Ball is reviewing five proposed scenarios to address the catastrophic flooding issues in Ellicott City. The scenarios will involve the demolition between four to six buildings on the historic town's Main Street. The article noted that the scenarios cost between $63.5 million and $175 million and would take between four to seven years to complete. The new scenarios, developed at Ball's request, call for fewer buildings…

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Learn About the New Phase 3 WIP at Harry Hughes Center Information Sessions

The Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology is hosting three information sessions and one webinar on the release of Maryland's Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP). The WIP details the actions that must be taken by the State and local governments to meet the 2025 nutrient pollution reduction goals under the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load. The sessions and webinar run from April to May 2019, and will include an overview of the draft…

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New County Executives Among 2019 Session Winners & Losers

A Maryland Matters article (2019-04-10) highlighted the website's perceived winners and losers of the 2019 Session. The article made it clear up front that it would not be including House Speaker Michael Busch, Senate President Thomas "Mike" Miller, or their staff, on this year's list - not because they did not have significant roles during the Session but out of a feeling that now is not the proper time to comment on either. Among the article's…

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Nominations Sought for Inaugural Maryland Youth Service Awards

The Governor's Office on Service and Volunteerism is soliciting nominations for its inaugural Youth Service Awards. The awards are given to deserving youth (11 to 18 years old) or youth groups who have rendered an outstanding service to Maryland and its residents during 2018 and 2019. Nominations are due by the close of Friday, June 7, 2019. Further information from the Office's website: Recipients of the Youth Service Awards must exemplify the following characteristics: Demonstrate…

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2019 End of Session Wrap-Up: Planning & Zoning

This post summarizes the status of various planning and zoning bills that MACo took a position on during the 2019 Regular Session. 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 and zoning advocacy, MACo seeks to protect the ability of local governments - those closest to the people and with the most insight into local…

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2019 End of Session Wrap-Up: Environment

This post summarizes the status of various environmental bills that MACo took a position on during the 2019 Regular Session. MACo seeks practical solutions to environmental issues that do not impose unreasonable mandates or costs on county governments. Septic Systems – Definition of “Failing System” Legislation established a statutory definition for a “failing on-site sewage disposal system,” which triggers certain enforcement provisions regarding repair or upgrade requirements and may allow the system’s owner access to…

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2019 End of Session Wrap-Up: Parks & Recreation

This post summarizes the status of various parks and recreation bills that MACo took a position on during the 2019 Regular Session. County government parks and recreation department provide a range of public recreation programs for all segments of the population and maintain a large network of open spaces throughout Maryland. MACo's advocacy seeks to support the efforts of county parks and recreation, by urging state and federal funding support and defending local determination of…

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2019 End of Session Wrap-Up: Government Liability & Courts

This post summarizes the status of various government liability and courts bills that MACo took a position on during the 2019 Regular Session. County governments enforce laws, employee residents, and maintain facilities throughout Maryland. These various roles may place county governments, much like their counterparts in the private sector, as defendants in court, litigating cases involving employment benefits, injuries sustained on county properties, or other subjects. MACo's advocacy in this area seeks to clarify the…

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