Montgomery to Regulate Short-Term Rentals

County to regulate short-term rental platforms — Airbnb, Craigslist, FlipKey and HomeAway — and rental property owners. 

Montgomery County’s short-term rental law will go into effect July 1, 2018. Owners who rent their properties or rooms online for less than 30 days will have to register and license their rentals.

A Montgomery County news release explains:

A short-term residential rental is a unit/room in a single-family home, apartment or condominium that is available for a fee for less than 30 consecutive days through online sites such as Airbnb, Craigslist, FlipKey and HomeAway.

Property owners who rent their property, or part of their property, for short-term lodging must also pay the County’s Room Rental and Transient Tax, through the Department of Finance, Division of Treasury, a requirement that went into effect July 1, 2017.

As the news release notes, Montgomery joins the ranks of jurisdictions across the country that require licensing or regulation for the burgeoning industry.

During the 2018 session MACo supported two bills to require short-term rentals, such as Airbnb, and individuals who act as hosts on those platforms to be registered with the Comptroller and regulated. Unfortunately, Senate Bill 1081 did not make it out of committee and House Bill 1604 was given an unfavorable report by the House Economic Matters Committee.

Read the news release for more information.

Frederick: Tiny Houses, No Impact Fees?

Bill would allow county to waive impact fees on homes smaller than 800 square feet as a means of increasing affordable housing. 

The Frederick County Council is considering a bill that would allow impact fees to be waived for “tiny houses” to help diversify the pool of housing types and increase affordability.

These one-time fees — which support expansion of facilities such as libraries and schools for new developments — typically range from over $6,000 for a condo to a little over $15,000 for a single family home.

The Frederick News-Post reports:

“This comes from the general need to diversify our housing types” and address affordability gaps that linger throughout the county, Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater (D) said at the workshop Tuesday.

The county felt that waiving the impact fees for these units was appropriate because these units are unlikely to have schoolchildren living in them.

While the bill is still being workshopped, the article notes that eligible dwellings would still have to meet certain requirements and annual inspections.

Read the full article for more information.

Reinvest Maryland 2.0 Unveiled

MDP logo

A Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) press release (2018-06-05) announced the release of Reinvest Maryland 2.0. The report is an update of the original Reinvest Maryland and provides a toolkit for assisting local governments in infill, redevelopment and revitalization projects. The report also includes studies that are applicable in urban, suburban, and rural areas.  From the press release:

The Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission (Commission) and the Department of Planning (Planning) today released Reinvest Maryland 2.0, a report that provides resources for all levels of government to work together, strengthen collaborative efforts to support revitalization and reinvestment, and engage stakeholders in supporting Maryland’s communities to improve the quality of life.

The report examines redevelopment in Maryland and identifies tools, case studies and best practices that support redevelopment and revitalization in existing communities. …

Reinvest Maryland 2.0 addresses all aspects of the redevelopment process, including: Promoting Reinvestment; Regulatory Reform; and Financing Tools and Programs. It also includes a set of Policy Recommendations.

The Commission and its workgroups collaborated closely with Planning, which staffs the commission, as well as other state agencies, to: identify best practices in Maryland communities; identify, review and refine the recommendations; and communicate with local officials and practitioners to identify and share the most effective planning tools and resources.

The extensive research provided insight into the best ways to create vibrant places with a range of housing, employment and transportation options in Maryland, as well as identifying strategies to overcome the challenges that communities face with redevelopment. “We must continue to provide technical assistance and resources that support reinvestment initiatives in Maryland’s great communities,” said Commission Chairman Susan Summers. “Reinvest Maryland 2.0 outlines recommendations to help us grow smarter and improve quality of life.”

Planning will build upon this work with the Reinvest Maryland website, as a onestop source of redevelopment information in Maryland, and solicit additional case studies and information from local communities and practitioners to support the educational efforts of the Commission’s workgroups.

“This has been a great team effort and the new Reinvest Maryland 2.0 website provides an interactive experience for Maryland’s stakeholders,” said Secretary of Planning Robert McCord.

Special Secretary of Smart Growth Wendi Peters noted, “With Governor Hogan’s leadership, we are continuing to assist communities and change Maryland for the better.”

The report includes a series of policy recommendations broken down into several categories. The categories include:

  • Establishing a Vision for Reinvestment
  • Creating and Better Funding Innovative, Effective Reinvestment Programs
  • Identifying and Addressing Regulations and Policies that may Impede Reinvestment
  • Deploying Targeted Financial Tools
  • Promoting Equitable Development
  • Encouraging Excellence in Community Design and Preservation
  • Using Metrics to Gauge Success and Drive Reinvestment
  • Accelerating Transit-Oriented Development

In addition to the basic report and case studies, MDP has created an interactive website that provides further information on case studies, contacts for technical assistance, and a toolbox that allows users to navigate and connect with more than 100 state and federal redevelopment and infill programs.

Useful Links

Reinvest Maryland 2.0 Report

Reinvest Maryland 2.0 Interactive Website

Growth Commission Presents 2018 Sustainable Growth Awards

The Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission presented its 2018 Sustainable Growth Awards in Annapolis on June 4, 2018. The awards highlight individuals, groups, programs, or projects that further the principles of smart and sustainable growth. From a Commission press release (2018-06-04):

The Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission today presented awards for leadership, community planning, and conservation at its sixth annual awards ceremony at the Maryland State House in Annapolis. The awards recognize individuals, organizations, and programs that exemplify well-planned economic and community development initiatives throughout the state. “These award recipients from across Maryland represent creativity, innovation, and passion – traits that we see in leaders across our great state,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “My administration is proud to celebrate their contributions and their commitment to helping change Maryland for the better.” The six winners are individuals and organizations that demonstrate their commitment to sustainable growth – development or redevelopment that is compact, walkable, and takes advantage of existing infrastructure while preserving the rural landscape – in Maryland. “The commission and I are thrilled to recognize these outstanding Maryland projects,” said Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission Chair Susan Summers. “These awards are the highest level of recognition for well-planned economic and community development and sustainability in the state.” “Today’s recipients characterize the resourcefulness, imagination, and originality that makes Maryland a leader in cultural preservation, community and economic development, and environmental stewardship,” said Wendi Peters, Special Secretary of Smart Growth. “I join the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission in celebrating today’s award winners who demonstrate what can happen when great ideas and local vision come together in the spirit of creating economic opportunities, robust communities, and a superior quality of life for Marylanders.”

From Left to Right: Special Secretary of Smart Growth Wendi Peters, SGC Chair Susan Summers, Rock Hall Mayor Brian Jones, Maryland Delegate Jay Jacobs, Maryland Delegate Steven Arentz, Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, and Maryland Senator Stephen Hershey

This year’s award winners included the following (award category is in parentheses):

  1. Rock Hall Mayor Brian Jones (Leadership & Service)
  2. Anacostia River Trail, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens Segment (Sustainable Communities)
  3. Havre de Grace Opera House (Sustainable Communities)
  4. Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway Theatre Baltimore City (Sustainable Communities)
  5. R House in Baltimore City (Sustainable Communities)
  6. ECO City Farms (Preservation and Conservation)

Useful Links

2018 Sustainable Growth Award Winners Web Page (includes videos for each award winner)

SGC Web Page

Next Week’s Infrastructure Week!

Next week is Infrastructure Week! Celebrating its sixth year, Infrastructure Week is a national week of events, public education and advocacy to elevate infrastructure as a critical issue impacting America’s economy, society, security and future.

NACo is getting involved with a number of interesting advocacy events throughout the week. Highlights include:


The three-part forum, hosted by Brookings Institute, will be to investigate how infrastructure policy can help address broader societal challenges, especially economic inclusion.


A panel of experts will discuss their various perspectives of housing as infrastructure, featuring topics including the economic impact of a housing shortage, the backlog of public housing maintenance, private activity bonds as a tool for a wide range of infrastructure needs—including housing—and the importance of enhancing affordable housing resources.


Businesses are reliant on access to safe, reliable water and wastewater. Water is also a main ingredient in our products and the processes we use to build them. Businesses rank water as a top corporate concern and a priority investment for a secure supply chain. As our water infrastructure ages, businesses are finding creative ways to use, reuse, and manage water safely and sustainably. Join the Value of Water Campaign and senior private sector executives for a discussion on how companies are driving innovative water management practices and navigating the challenges of today’s complex water landscape.


A changing economy, society, and natural environment are placing new stresses on the country’s infrastructure systems. The rise of a digital economy, continued population growth, and a changing climate combine to introduce new demands for real estate, where essential infrastructure services should operate, and how to protect both our built and natural environment.

Governments carry an enormous burden to modernize infrastructure systems to promote shared and sustainable prosperity. Central to that effort is to develop deeper partnerships with the private sector around the design, construction, operation, and financing of infrastructure projects. However, doing so is often easier said than done. Many of the country’s public policies are woefully outdated relative to private sector innovation, ranging from procurement around new business models to more flexible financing arrangements.

See NACo’s full calendar here.

Learn about counties’ numerous roles in infrastructure development here.


Economic Development Progress in Garrett

Garrett County has released an update on its economic development efforts.

Garrett is home to 910 businesses and a workforce of 15,566. The County has averaged 68 new businesses a year from 2014-2017. Interestingly, most jobs are in the trade, transportation & utilities sector (22.1 percent). Leisure and hospitality jobs make up 15.1 percent of the workforce, education and health services make up 14.96 percent, and local government, 10.7 percent.

One of the County’s greatest challenges to growth is lack of broadband access. In 2017, broadband expansion efforts reached nearly 3,000 customers, 93 percent of whom were previously unserved.

See the County’s presentation for more information, including a wealth of demographic data.


Baltimore Mayor Plans to Launch Neighborhood Impact Investment Fund

Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh has announced plans to launch a Neighborhood Impact Investment Fund to help spur investment in the City’s distressed neighborhoods. The mayor intends to raise $55 million by leasing several city-owned parking garages to help jump-start the fund and encourage more investment in it.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

The fund will be designed to focus on the city’s historically-neglected neighborhoods that the federal government defines as “severely distressed” — a swath of the city that includes much of East and West Baltimore. She said the city’s contribution would help kick-start private investment through the fund, a strategy used in similar programs in Cincinnati, Detroit, New York City and San Francisco.

The fund would be managed by a new nonprofit entity that would be governed by a board of “business and civic leaders” along with city government officials, the mayor said.

The article notes that the fund proposal will first have to be approved by the City Council and Board of Estimates.

Read The Baltimore Sun to learn more.

Smart Growth@20: What Are the Next Steps for Land Use in Maryland?

Governors old and new attended a recent seminar that reviewed the successes and failures of the first 20 years of Maryland’s Smart Growth policies and considered the future of Smart Growth in the state. The National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education, in conjunction with the Town Creek Foundation, 1000 Friends of Maryland, and the Maryland Building Industry Association, held a “Smart Growth@20” event in Annapolis on April 18, 2018, that drew around 125 attendees from across the state.

From Left to Right: Secretary of Planning Robert McCord, former Governor Parris Glendening, Governor Larry Hogan, Gerrit Knaap, and Special Secretary for Smart Growth Wendi Peters (Source: National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education)

At the event, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan reiterated his support for Smart Growth, noting that the Maryland Department of Planning was conducting listening sessions in every county for the State’s new development plan “A Better Maryland.” Hogan also presented a citation to former Maryland Governor Parris Glendening for his pioneering work in Smart Growth. Glendening noted that the Smart Growth concepts started in Maryland are now found in states and cities across the country. Looking forward, Glendening stressed that Smart Growth needed to focus on: (1) maximizing the use of mass transit, transit oriented development and walkable communities; (2) addressing climate change; and (3) the growing social inequity in America.

The seminar also included an unveiling of potential new planning visions that would replace the existing 12 planning visions adopted by the State in 2009. The draft language included 4 completely new planning values and 12 modified or new visions. The planning visions and values would form the foundation upon which local governments draft their comprehensive plans.

The planning values would be: (1) quality of life and sustainability; (2) public participation; (3) stewardship; and (4) implementation. The planning visions included: (1) concentrate population growth; (2) maintain and design diverse communities; (3) provide efficient infrastructure; (4) balance competing transportation needs; (5) provide access to opportunity through housing; (6) build a 21st century economy; (7) protect Maryland’s environment and ecosystem services; (8) preference clean and renewable energy; (9) mitigate the impacts of climate change; (10) wisely adopt new smart infrastructure technologies; (11) promote public health; and (12) human and capital development.

Caroline County Planning Director Katheleen Freeman was also a speaker at the event and raised concerns that some of the draft visions: (1) would not relate well in some suburban or rural areas; (2) were too specific to be considered as a vision; and (3) addressed issues that counties had little or no control over through land use.  Other speakers raised concerns that local government comprehensive plans should have additional mandatory elements, such as for housing or climate change. MACo Legal and Policy Counsel Les Knapp attended the event and stressed during group discussions that as new Smart Growth policies are considered, it is critical to ensure that the policies acknowledge the differences in rural, suburban, and urban growth patterns and account for these differences rather than apply a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

It is likely that the discussions started at thee Smart Growth@20 event will continue throughout the 2018 interim and the 2019 Session.

Useful Links

Smart Growth @ 20 Visions and Materials

National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education Website


Maryland Identifies “Opportunity Zones”, Awaits Federal Approval

Under the 2017 tax reforms Congress established a new program for states to designate a series of census tracts as “Opportunity Zones.” These Zones provide a new tool to encourage long-term private investment in low-income communities by providing federal tax breaks on any capital gains that result from specific investment in those communities.

As the The Baltimore Sun reports Maryland officials have chosen 149 areas around the state for designation:

Much of East and West Baltimore has been nominated. So has Park Heights and huge swathes of south Baltimore including parts of Port Covington, where Under Armour founder Kevin Plank has proposed building a mixed-use project from scratch.

In addition, the zones would be established around Fort Meade In Anne Arundel County, Aberdeen Proving Ground in Harford County and the Indian Head naval facility in Southern Maryland. The state also has targeted an area of Montgomery County where it hopes to lure Amazon’s second headquarters, as well as parts of Cecil County where officials are encouraging distribution centers to open up.

In March, MACo sent a letter to state officials urging a process to incorporate county input into the state selection of Opportunity Zones. As the Sun article notes officials consulted with local politicians, developers and others to help target the areas most attractive for development. The next step is for the U.S. Treasury Department to review and approve the state designations, which it is anticipated the Treasury will do.

For more information:

Maryland chooses dozens of struggling neighborhoods statewide for new federal ‘Opportunity Zone’ tax breaks (The Baltimore Sun)

County Input Sought on “Opportunity Zone” Designations (Conduit Street)

City Council Introduces Bill to Fund Affordable Housing

A bill before the Baltimore City Council proposes to raise taxes on certain property sales in order to fund affordable housing projects. It is estimated that the tax would raise $20 million and be a dedicated funding source for the affordable housing trust fund that was approved in 2016 without a designated revenue source.

From The Baltimore Sun:

A bill being introduced in the City Council on Monday would increase the city’s 1.5 percent transfer tax to 2.1 percent and the recordation tax from 1 percent to 1.4 percent. The increases would apply only to properties sold to owners who intend to rent the buildings, not to buyers who intend to live in them.

Matt Hill, an attorney at the Public Justice Center and a member of the group, said the tax represents a small proportion of each property sale but would have a big effect in Baltimore’s blighted neighborhoods by creating jobs, eliminating vacants and building permanent affordable homes.

To learn more read The Baltimore Sun