Anne Arundel Executive Looks to Strengthen County Forest Conservation Protections

An Anne Arundel County press release (2019-08-21) announced that County Executive Steuart Pittman plans on introducing legislation to strengthen the County's forest conservation law. Pittman is taking this action in the light of recent forest losses within the County. From the press release: “Forests are tremendously important to our county,” said County Executive Pittman. “Trees reduce air pollution, soak up stormwater runoff, provide wildlife habitat and help fight climate change. For decades, we’ve made it…

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Learn About Ag Production Challenges at “What’s That Smell?” Workshops

A University of Maryland Extension news release (2019-08-19) announced that Chesapeake College and the Lower Shore American Job Center will host several one-day workshops for local officials about current challenges facing agriculture in Maryland. From the news release: The “What’s That Smell?” Understanding Modern Agriculture and What Officials Need to Know Workshops will be held September 17, 2019, at the Higher Education Center at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills and on October 10, 2019, at…

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Governor Hogan Creates Task Force on Renewable Energy Development & Siting

A press release (2019-08-14) from the Office of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced that Hogan had signed a new executive order creating a Governor's Task Force on Renewable Energy Development and Siting. The Task Force will study how renewable energy generation projects, such as solar and wind, should be sited in the state and ways to streamline the project approval process. From the press release: “In my most recent State of the State address, I…

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U.S. Census Bureau Launches First Major Field Operation for 2020 Census

The U.S. Census Bureau last week launched address canvassing, the first major field operation of the 2020 Census. Address canvassing improves and refines the Census Bureau’s address list of households nationwide, which is necessary to deliver invitations to respond to the census. The address list plays a vital role in ensuring a complete and accurate count of everyone living in the United States. “The Census Bureau is dedicated to ensuring that we are on track,…

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Hogan Talks Education, Land Use, & Rural Broadband at 2019 Summer #MACoCon

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan gave the closing address to the 2019 MACo Summer Conference on August 17, touching on a variety of issues including: economic growth, land use, rural broadband, and education. Referencing the conference theme of “Winds of Change,” Hogan stated that “we have brought real and lasting change to Maryland.”   Economic Growth Hogan stated that Maryland has had “the biggest economic turnaround in America” and has gone from losing more than 100,000…

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They’re Here! Counties Take Steps to Embrace Small Cells in Maryland

Attendees to the 2019 MACo Summer Conference session, "Maryland’s Small Cell Roll Out: Making 5G a Reality" learned vital information from fellow county and national experts on how to effectively navigate current legal, legislative, and community landscapes/terrain to efficiently pave the path forward for small cells in their jurisdictions. Victor Tervala, Chief Solicitor, Law Department, General Counsel Division for Baltimore City set a basis for the panel by reviewing the federal rules counties must play…

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Bay Restoration Progress & Phase III WIPs Debated at 2019 Summer #MACoCon

Different perspectives were offered on Maryland’s new Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) during the “Endgame: Can Our Phase III WIP Meet Our Bay Restoration Goals?” panel on August 16 at the 2019 MACo Summer Conference. Maryland Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles presented an overview of the WIP approval process. Maryland is waiting on final comment and approval from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Grumbles noted that Pennsylvania’s draft Phase III WIP…

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Moving Towards a Clean Energy Future at 2019 Summer #MACoCon

The panel “Keeping Clean Energy Green Energy” on August 15 at the 2019 MACo Summer Conference examined Maryland’s transition to clean energy and explored what it means for county government infrastructure and land use policies. Maryland Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles reiterated that the state’s pending Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act plan requires Maryland to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 from 2006 levels and prepares for a future reduction goal of 80%.…

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Walking the Agritourism “Tightrope” at #MACoCon

Agriculture remains a key economic driver for the state of Maryland, but like all successful businesses, agriculture is evolving with the times. Agritourism now plays an increasingly important role in the long-term profitability of agriculture, especially for small- to mid-sized farms. However, while most counties have attempted to embrace agritourism, its diverse and sometimes vague nature poses a variety of regulatory challenges – from zoning and building code requirements to health and sanitation issues. Even…

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Don’t Be Tempted to Be Preempted

Think you have local authority to regulate in a policy area because state law is silent on the issue? Think again because a court may find you have no authority under the legal doctrine of “implied preemption.” At this year's MACo Summer Conference, a panel of experts discussed the implied preemption doctrine, detailed specific examples where county authority has been challenged — including two recent high profile court decisions on solar siting and pesticide regulation,…

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