Montgomery Receives Approval for New Vision Zero Tool

The Montgomery County Planning Department received approval to fund and launch the Predictive Safety Analysis project in the current fiscal year. This project seeks to prevent serious injury or fatal crashes at locations without a recent history of crashes, but share similar features to areas where fatal/serious crashes have occurred. From Montgomery Planning: The Predictive Safety Analysis tool will use statistical analysis to allow planners and county agencies to target resources to receive the most…

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Statewide “Source of Income” Housing Policy Proposed

A bill to establish a "Source of Income" policy statewide, to reduce housing discrimination, has been proposed for consideration this session. HB 231, the "Housing Opportunities Made Equal Act," sponsored by Delegate Brooke Lierman with over thirty co-sponsors, has been introduced. The bill would create a statewide policy to ban housing discrimination based on the occupant's "source of income." Multiple local governments in Maryland have taken up and enacted local laws to this effect -…

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MACo Supports Model Definition for Alcohol Producers

On Thursday, January 16, MACo policy associate Alex Butler testified before the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee in support of SB 118 Land Use - Alcohol Production and Agricultural Alcohol Production. This bill, initiated by the Maryland Department of Agriculture, would create a model definition of alcohol production and agricultural alcohol production for use in land use codes. The bill does not require adoption of the definition by counties, but instead serves as a…

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MDE Hosting Public Engagement Meetings on Draft Climate Change Plan

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is hosting a series of public engagement meetings and webinars to provide residents with the opportunity to learn about and provide input on its draft climate change plan. The draft plan outlines what the State and local governments will need to do to reduce in-state greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from their 2006 levels by 2030 and prepare for further reductions in the future. Counties or other interested…

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OP-ED: Cities and Counties Embrace a Local Path Forward for 5G, Reject Preemption

In an op-ed piece in  The Daily Record's Annapolis Summit 2020 MACo and MML highlight how cities and counties across the state are providing a path forward for 5G small cells on a local level and why statewide preemption bills are not needed: Maryland’s cities and counties are 5G ready! Nearly 50 jurisdictions in Maryland have already enacted local ordinances or regulations governing small cells, and dozens more are pending. In fact, thousands of small…

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Board of Public Works Approves $18.8 Million in Rural Legacy Program Grants

The Board of Public Works yesterday unanimously approved more than $18.8 million in Rural Legacy Program grants for conservation easements in 18 counties. Funding from these grants will permanently protect more than 4,500 acres of working farms, forests, open space, shorelines, and wetlands — plus cultural and historic resources — throughout the state. According to a press release: The projects were recommended by the Rural Legacy Board, which consists of the Secretaries of the Maryland Department of Natural…

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Calvert Names New Director of Planning and Zoning

The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) today announced the appointment of Mary Beth Cook as director of the Department of Planning & Zoning. Cook’s appointment is effective January 6, 2020. Cook, who was most recently the deputy director/zoning officer in the Calvert County Department of Planning & Zoning, has worked for county government for more than 26 years. Cook replaces Mark Willis, who was promoted to serve as county administrator. “Mary Beth’s background…

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Now Available: FY 21 Heritage Tourism Grants

The Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA) is now accepting applications for FY21 grants. The purpose of the program is to assist and encourage the preservation of historical, archaeological, natural, and cultural resources and support economic development through heritage tourism across Maryland. Eligible applicants for MHAA funding include non-profit organizations, and local, state, and federal government entities. Businesses and individuals are not eligible to participate. MHAA grants support both capital (acquisition, new construction, and historic preservation)…

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Maryland General Assembly to Consider Affordable Housing Measures

During the 2020 General Assembly Session legislators will examine proposals intended to increase the availability of affordable housing in Maryland. Delegate Vaughn Stewart intends to introduce the "Homes for All" package of bills that includes the creation of a fund for public housing, a revamp of tenant protections, and changes to single-family zoning. As States identify shortages in affordable housing, new ideas to increase the availability have become topics of discussion, and changing single-family zoning…

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