Fun Fact: Which County is the Home of Maryland’s First State Park?

Patapsco Valley State Park in Howard County has the distinction of being Maryland’s first state park. April 10-16, 2021 is the first Maryland State Parks Week, so we're celebrating with a fun fact on state parks! By the 1900s, Maryland’s forest reserves were in deplorable condition. Loss of wildlife habitats, erosion, forest fires, and depleting woodland were among the main contributors of the need for forest conservation. As a solution to this growing problem, the…

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2021 End of Session Wrap-Up: Planning & Zoning

This post summarizes the status of various planning & zoning bills that MACo took a position on during the 2021 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 & 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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2021 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 2021 Regular Session.  County government parks and recreation departments 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 recreations by urging state and federal funding support and defending local determination of…

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Baltimore County to Convert 15-Acre Industrial Site to Public Park

Sparrows Point Park could include a renewable energy powered community center, synthetic turf field, 10,000-square foot playground, and public pier. Baltimore County is poised to create its first new park in more than six years. The Olszewski administration is following through on its early actions working to secure funding and begin planning the project. From the article: “We’ve had more support, more funding and really more interest from [Olszewski’s] administration than we’ve ever had before…

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County Executive Olszewski Announces Legislation to Expand Live Music, Boost Support for Local Musicians

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced plans to introduce the New Opportunities for Tourism and Entertainment (NOTE) Act, local legislation to enable more restaurants and bars to offer live music and entertainment across Baltimore County and support the recovery of musicians and performers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. "Local musicians and performers entertain, inspire, and help make communities more vibrant. This pandemic has upended their way of life, and this effort creates new opportunities…

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Broader View Matters on Municipal Incorporation Process

MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson testified on March 2 before the House Environment and Transportation Committee in opposition to HB 1226 Municipal Incorporation - County Commissioners or County Council - Required Approval of Referendum Request. This bill changes how a municipality is incorporated, taking away input and oversight from county governments. From the MACo Testimony: Under current and longstanding Maryland law, in order to incorporate, residents of an area must first petition the county governing…

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Baltimore County, Utility Partnering to Install EV Charging Stations

This week, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced that the County is partnering with Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) to bring more charging stations to the area. Building upon other sustainability measures, Baltimore County is working to get 28 new electric vehicle charging stations installed at no cost to the County. Stations will allow EV owners to charge their vehicles with either Level 2 smart chargers or DC fast chargers. A strong charging station…

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Bay Crossing Study Draft Environmental Statement Available for Review & Comment

The Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the ongoing Chesapeake Bay Crossing Study is now available for review and comment at baycrossingstudy.com through Monday, May 10, 2021. Originally scheduled for December, the release of the DEIS was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of the study is to consider two-mile-wide corridors to provide additional capacity and access across the Chesapeake Bay to improve mobility, travel reliability, and safety at the existing William…

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Program Open Space Popular Among Marylanders

Last week, the Partners for Open Space released the results of a recently conducted poll which found that Program Open Space was exceedingly popular among Maryland residents. The poll questioned Maryland voters who are likely to participate in the November 2022 election. Results indicate that 90 percent of participants approve of Program Open Space, and prefer the State maintain its current funding. Program Open Space has been a historically successful program, providing an immense public benefit…

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MACo: Pricey Solar Tax Exemption Precludes Local Input

MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally testified today in support with amendments on HB 954 Property - Tax - Solar Energy Systems before the House Ways and Means Committee. This bill generally grants broad tax exemptions for specified community solar energy generating systems. The bill also designates certain solar energy property as a new subclass of personal property, authorizes local governments to set a lower personal property tax rate on solar energy equipment, and prohibits the State…

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