Opportunity Zones – Big Tool, Big Questions?

Federal tax reforms from late 2017 created an "Opportunity Zone" program - will these incentives be the key to revitalizing underdeveloped areas? The recent creation of federal Opportunity Zones called for selection of targeted census tracts for development incentives. As Maryland and other states have implemented their selection, the process of refining the processes for engaging new employers and activity within their bounds. See the map of currently approved Opportunity Zones. See Conduit Street coverage…

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Legislation Introduced Allowing Montgomery County Inspector General to Investigate Housing Commission

A Bethesda Beat article (2019-01-18) reported the Maryland Senator Ben Kramer has introduced legislation that would authorize the Montgomery County Inspector General to investigate the County's Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC). In the article Kramer, stated that he introduced the legislation after receiving complaints about HOC from both constituents and HOC employees. Some of the complaints stemmed from a dispute between HOC and Macedonia Baptist Church over a historically-black cemetery. HOC Chair Jackie Simon questioned the need…

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Shutdown Snarls Rural Broadband Expansion

In today’s world, internet connectivity is no longer a luxury—it is a necessity. Access to affordable internet, broadband, wireless, and cellular services is an essential component of a county’s economic development and the socio-economic advancements of its residents. Residents benefit from increased economic growth, improved labor market access and outcomes, access to better health care, enhanced civic participation, enriched education opportunities, improved quality of life, and overall competitive and vibrant communities. And while there is…

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These Boots Were Made for Walking (to Work)

Walk scores are an indicator used by smart growth advocates seeking community and economic development aims. Prince George's Council Member Dannielle Glaros joined former Maryland Governor Parris Glendening at MACo's Winter Conference for a discussion of smart growth solutions. Glaros shared her personal history of having grown up in a neighborhood where she and her brother could walk to the store to buy milk, and described some of the major projects she is working on…

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Here’s What the Smart Growth Subcabinet Will Discuss at #MACoCon

As previously reported by Conduit Street, the Smart Growth Subcabinet will be responding to county questions about land use, economic development, transportation, the environment, and other critical issues at the MACo January 2019 Winter Conference. While there will be time for an open question and answer session with the Subcabinet, the Subcabinet will mainly focus on answering questions that were previously submitted by the counties through MACo. Here are the county questions that the Subcabinet will…

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Maryland Among Top Six States for Opportunity Zones Based on Smart Growth Metrics

A Sustainable Cities Network article (2018-12-19) announced that a Smart Growth America study has found Maryland ranks among the top 10% for Opportunity Zones from a Smart Growth perspective. This is according to the National Opportunity Zone Rankings Report released in December of 2018 by LOCUS, a program within Smart Growth America, and the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at George Washington University. As previously reported on Conduit Street, the federal government created Opportunity Zones as…

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White House Announces Multi-Agency Opportunity Zone Council

A Route Fifty article (2018-12-12) announced that President Donald Trump signed an executive order creating a 13-agency council to focus on directing existing federal resources to eligible distressed communities under the Opportunity Zones program. The "White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council" will examine how federal agencies can prioritize their financing, grants, and other assistance to support Opportunity Zones. Created under the 2017 federal tax reform initiative, Opportunity Zones are designated census tracts submitted by the states and…

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Baltimore City Passes Law Regulating Airbnb

According to WMAR, after a procedural final vote the Baltimore City Council has passed a bill regulating short-term rentals such as Airbnb. The Baltimore Sun reported on the details of the bill: The legislation would require hosts using the rental platforms to register with city authorities and impose a 9.5 percent hotel tax on Airbnb-style stays. It would also ban people from renting properties other than their primary homes. ... It does include a grandfather clause…

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Carbon Tax Bill Introduced in House of Representatives

A Sustainable Cities Network article (2018-12-04) reported on the introduction of a bipartisan bill in the United States House of Representatives that would set a nationwide price and refund system for carbon emissions. Many climate change advocates support a carbon tax as a market driven approach to address climate change. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2018 (H.R.7173) is sponsored by Representatives Ted Deutch (D-FL), Francis Rooney (D-FL), Charlie Christ (R-FL), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Anna…

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Constituents in Crisis? Human Services to the Rescue!

There are a broad continuum of county agencies and programs that are dedicated to providing community-based services to address the special needs of children, families, older adults, and persons with disabilities. Each agency plays a particular role and at the MACo Winter Conference session, "Constituents in Crisis? Human Services to the Rescue!," you'll learn which to call when your residents need vital help and support. Title: Constituents in Crisis? Human Services to the Rescue! Description:…

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