2022 Maryland Sustainable Growth Awards Nominations Open

The Maryland Department of Planning has officially opened nominations for the 2022 Sustainable Growth Awards.  The Maryland Sustainable Growth Awards celebrate significant achievements by individuals, businesses, organizations and local governments to realize the 12 planning visions adopted by the Maryland General Assembly. The annual awards promote exemplary work that represents or inspires collaboration, innovation, conservation, community impact and quality of life. The annual awards are presented by the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) and are the highest level…

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Montgomery Officially Adopts Building Energy Performance Standards

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich signed local legislation adopting building energy performance standards (BEPS). Yesterday Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich signed the “Building Energy Performance Standards” (BEPS) legislation (Bill 16-21) into law. The bill, which was passed unanimously by the County Council on April 19, will expand the County’s benchmarking requirements by setting minimum energy performance standards for existing buildings. This will be one of the most effective ways to reduce energy demand, and carbon…

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Maine May Preempt Local “Single Family” Zoning

Maine may become the third state to adopt state-level, single-family zoning legislation intended to preempt local autonomy.  Maine's state legislature is taking up legislation aiming to preempt local zoning processes, responding to concerns about housing prices. From coverage on the Reason website: Maine is embracing new California-style laws aimed at reducing restrictions on new housing. It could soon run into some of the same problems encountered by the Golden State's reforms. Last week, the Maine…

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Montgomery Seeks Volunteers to Spend Summer Mapping Heat

Montgomery County has put out a call recruiting volunteers to help county leaders map urban heat islands.  This summer, Montgomery County is doing a community heat-mapping project that will bring together local organizations and volunteers to produce heat maps and generate creative and collaborative solutions for extreme heat in our area. Montgomery will be one of 16 jurisdictions globally that will collaborate with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and community scientists to map heat…

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EPA Threatens to Crack Down on Northern Neighbor

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently signaled they are to step up enforcement efforts to control Pennsylvania's water pollution.  Long-term advocates for a cleaner Chesapeake Bay may find reason to rejoice as the EPA puts Pennsylvania on notice for water pollution. After the EPA reviewed Pennsylvania’s updated plan to address pollution reduction goals for the Chesapeake Bay watershed, it found that the plan falls short of those goals largely due to the lack of resources…

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2022 Session: Recap and Wrap-Ups

Catch up on all of the latest outcomes of the 2022 Maryland General Assembly session with wrap-ups on important county-related bills in each policy area. This year, the Maryland General Assembly conducted a legislative session unlike any other due to the enduring COVID-19 pandemic. The unique circumstances surrounding the 444th legislative session, including necessary health and safety measures, posed a challenge for lawmakers and advocates alike, with one chamber in-person and the other remote for…

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2022 End of Session Wrap-Up: Planning and Zoning

The segments below provide a brief overview of MACo’s work in the area of planning and zoning in the 2022 General Assembly.  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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Event Opportunity: The “Middle Housing” Challenge

Nationally recognized thought leader in architecture, design, and urban planning coming to Anne Arundel County next week. Daniel Parolek, Founding Principal of Opticos Design, is one of the foremost urban designers and architects working to meet the growing demand for walkable urban living. At a live event next week, Parolek will discuss what “missing middle” means, why it’s important, and how policy, planning, and zoning can create barriers to delivering Missing Middle Housing types. He…

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Montgomery Approves Zoning Changes to Expedite Innovation and Expand Biohealth

The Montgomery County Council unanimously enacted new zoning measure which will significantly accelerate and streamline the regulatory process to develop biohealth facilities in the county. The zoning changes will help attract and retain biohealth companies and reinforce Montgomery County’s reputation as a leader in the life sciences. According to a County Council press release: Zoning Text Amendment 21-09, Office and Professional – Biohealth Priority Campus, streamlines the regulatory process for new biohealth facilities 150,000 square…

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Montgomery Joins National Building Performance Standard Coalition

Montgomery joins Prince George’s County, Annapolis, and Washington, D.C.—in the National Building Performance Standard (BPS) Coalition. Earlier this week Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich announced that the County has committed to join forces with state and local governments across the country—including in Prince George’s County, Annapolis, and Washington, D.C.—in the National Building Performance Standard (BPS) Coalition. https://twitter.com/MontgomeryCoMD/status/1485719206813384705 The Coalition is a collaboration launched by the White House Council on Environmental Quality. The goal is for…

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