Feds Go Silent Following Airplane Noise Complaints

In response to two petitions filed by the State of Maryland against them regarding flight path issues, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has cut off all communication with the DC Metroplex BWI Community Roundtable and the Maryland Aviation Administration.

The petitions, announced late June, seek judicial and administrative review over changes to flight paths which have resulted in many Marylanders agitated over added noise.

From the Attorney General’s release:

The first action is a petition for review in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit regarding the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) implementation changes to the approach flight path for Runway 19 at DCA. The second is an administrative petition, filed with the FAA, that requests a supplemental environmental assessment as well as revisions to area navigation routes and procedures for BWI. Attorney General Frosh noted that the FAA failed to conduct the necessary environmental reviews prior to implementing the new flight paths.

WBAL reports:

“If the government will routinely stop communicating with the citizens as soon as they petition the government, it seems something is wrong with that,” said Jesse Chancellor, vice chair of the roundtable. …

Chancellor described the noise as a highway in the sky.


Howard County Ponders Future of Ellicott City’s Main Street After Second Flood

Bay Journal article (2018-07-10) recounted the scientific investigation into the second devastating flood to hit downtown Ellicott City within 2 years and the steps Howard County is taking to improve the City’s resiliency against future severe flooding events. The first flood in 2016 resulted in 2 deaths and caused roughly $10 million in damages. The flood this May caused 1 death and an estimated $20 million in damages. While the City’s Main Street area recovered slowly after the first flood, most businesses and residents elected to stay. However, after the second flood, some businesses have announced they are moving and some residents are considering whether to stay.

“There’s some very large emotional, financial and political decisions to be made,” said Jim Caldwell, Howard County’s director of community sustainability. “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done and a lot of soul-searching (by) folks that live there.”

Downtown Ellicott City has historically been prone to flooding, although development in the region and climate change appear to have aggravated the situation in recent years. After the 2016 flood, the County commissioned an engineering study after the 2016 flood and approved a variety of projects to help mitigate future flooding. However, the second flood hit before those projects could be implemented.  

Caldwell, the county community sustainability director, said after the flooding caused by Tropical Storm Lee in 2011, he thought of three big changes that could help reduce damage from future storms – buying out some property owners and removing their buildings to open up the flood plain, “daylighting” stream channels now buried under streets and buildings, and getting vehicles off Main Street. During the 2016 flood and again in May, cars became battering rams as they washed down the street, and a few plugged up one of the culverts.

The article noted that the County is now considering a variety of additional proposals, including a thorough review of planned and future development, buying out some properties and taking down the buildings to create more pervious surface for a flood plain, and prohibiting cars on Main Street.

Useful Links

Prior Conduit Street Coverage on Ellicott City Flooding

Learn about responding to a water crisis and communicating during an emergency at the 2018 MACo Summer Conference. Relevant panels include: “When It Rains, It Pours: Communicating in a Crisis” and “Batten Down the Hatches! Weathering a Water Crisis.” Both panels run on August 16.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:


Maryland Joins Three States In SALT Suit

Attorney General Brian Frosh has joined Maryland with Connecticut, New Jersey and New York in suing the federal government over capping the state and local tax (SALT) deduction through last year’s tax reform. The claim alleges that the new $10,000 SALT cap violates the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause and the 10th Amendment, which protects states’ rights, according to Governing.

From that coverage:

Calling the deduction cap an “unconstitutional assault” on state governance, the lawsuit accuses the federal government of meddling in state taxation and fiscal policies by making it more difficult for them, politically, to raise revenue if needed.

“The new cap disregards Congress’ hitherto unbroken respect for the states’ distinct and inviolable role in our federalist scheme,” the lawsuit says. “And, as many members of Congress transparently admitted, it deliberately seeks to compel certain states to reduce their public spending.”

In January, Governing interviewed tax law experts who opined that winning a lawsuit just like this would be very difficult.

The New York Times article expresses similar sentiments:

The lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of New York, was dismissed as a long-shot political stunt by supporters of the new tax code, but New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it is a practical act of self-defense against an adversarial federal government. …

When it comes to taxing Americans, “Congress can really do what it wants,” said Tax Foundation executive vice president Joseph Bishop-Henchman. “It’s really not much of a case.”

Attorney General Frosh stated:

Eliminating the SALT deduction will jack up taxes for more than half a million Marylanders. It is an attack on state sovereignty. It will reduce funding for local law enforcement and for construction of infrastructure statewide, and it will cripple our ability to educate our kids.

Helpful Links


Maryland Attorney General’s press release

Bethesda Magazine coverage

Governing coverage

New York Times coverage

Montgomery Asks Residents to “Lighten Their Loads”

This summer, the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Safeway stores are partnering to help save shoppers energy and money on their lighting with “Lighten Your Load” events.

According to a press release:

On select days at Safeway locations, bring old incandescent and/or compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs and receive up to three free LED light bulbs and a new, reusable shopping bag. These “Lighten Your Load” events are a way to save on electric bills and ensure that plastics and dangerous substances, like mercury, do not enter the waste stream.

You can swap your old incandescent and/or CFL bulbs for energy-efficient LEDs on Mondays this summer from 4 to 6 p.m. at the following Safeway locations. Look for DEP staff in front of each store:

  • July 16: Silver Spring Safeway at 909 Thayer, Silver Spring, 20910
  • July 23: Germantown Safeway at 19718 Germantown Road, Germantown, 20874
  • July 30: Rockville Safeway at 5510 Norbeck Road, Rockville, 20853
  • August 6: Wheaton Safeway at 11201 Georgia Ave, Wheaton, 20902
  • August 13: Damascus Safeway at 9807 Main Street, Damascus, 20872
  • August 20: Olney Safeway at 3333 Spartan Road, Olney, 20832

Participants can bring as many bulbs as they have available, but during the swap, each family is limited to receiving three free LEDs. All bulbs collected during the swap will be properly recycled or disposed.

“We’re giving away replacement LEDs, because it’s a small change that makes a big impact for residents’ utility bills and the environment,” said Patty Bubar, acting director of the Montgomery County DEP. “About 80 percent of households still use incandescent bulbs, and the summer months also have some of the highest electricity bills. It’s the perfect time to make the switch.”

“We take our commitment to energy efficiency and reducing waste seriously,” said Darcie Renn, director of sustainability at Safeway. “By partnering with Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, our customers have the opportunity to save energy and lower their utility bills while also reducing waste that goes to the landfill.”

“Lighten the Load” events are part of the Department of Environmental Protection’s efforts to educate residents and businesses about simple actions we can all take to save energy and money.

Read the full press release or visit mygreenmontgomery.org/energy for more information.

Small Cell Tsunami Session Gathering Waves

County governments, infrastructure suppliers, and wireless services providers are all putting forth representatives for MACo’s Summer Conference Session on small cell technology.

The Maryland Association of Counties Summer Conference will feature a session on small cell technology. This is in some ways a continuation of the conversations that were started at MACo’s Symposium on Small Cells held this spring.

In this session, wireless services providers will have a chance to share their perspective on the importance of small cells to Maryland, while attorneys from two of the jurisdictions out in front of this issue will share their lessons learned regarding the county role in small cell approvals and implementation.

Small Cells Major Issues Panel
County representatives discuss federal timelines and shot clocks for small cells that counties must meet at MACo’s Spring Symposium, The Big Picture on Small Cells. The conversation on small cells will continue at the MACo Summer Conference.

Surf’s Up! Small Cell Tsunami

The hanging of small cells on new and existing poles affects a range of issues, including business development, rural connectivity, and health concerns. Several counties have already dipped a toe in the water, negotiating directly with providers on zoning and licensing. Hear about 5G technology and what it could mean for Maryland, learn more about the necessary county role, and see a small cell up close at this educational session.


  • Victor K. Tervala, Chief Solicitor, Legal Advice & Opinions, Baltimore City Department of Law
  • Jeff Zyontz, Esq., Senior Legislative Analyst, Montgomery County Council
  • Richard Rothrock, Government Relations Manager, Crown Castle
  • LaTara Harris, Regional Director of External Affairs, AT&T
  • Michelle Painter, Counsel, Government Affairs, Sprint
  • Genese N. Thomas, Esq., Network Real Estate, Verizon Wireless


The Honorable Johnny Mautz, Maryland House of Delegates


Wednesday, August 15, 2018 / 11 am


MACo Summer Conference, Roland E Powell Convention Center, Ocean City, Maryland

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

4 Rs for MACoCon Participants

1. Renew your view of Maryland – County Exhibits are UPSTAIRS in Bayfront MACO-DAY2-SUMMERCONFERENCE2016-GLG189Hall
Be sure to visit our county exhibitors in the Bayfront Hall on the second floor of the Convention Center. Continental breakfast for attendees and the Taste of Maryland Reception are ONLY available in Bayfront Hall! You can also enjoy lunch and our Thursday Ice Cream Break with the county exhibitors on the second floor or with the commercial and state exhibitors on the first floor.

2. Reserve your discounted hotel room
MACo works with many hotels in Ocean City to offer blocks of discounted hotel rooms during our Summer Conference. Rates are only available to conference participants. Book soon – some of our blocks are already full and many have upcoming expiration dates!

3. Register for the Golf Tournament
MACo Summer Conference attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors are eligible to participate in our Golf Tournament on Wednesday, August 15, at the Ocean City Golf Club. Create your own foursome or let MACo assign you to a foursome – it’s a great opportunity to meet new people or reconnect with old friends, all of whom are involved in local government in one way or another! Register for the Golf Tournament or contact Nicolette Querry for more details.

4. Recreation for the whole family – MACo Kids’ Party
MACo Kids’ Party, sponsored by Musco Sports Lighting, will be held on Thursday. The Taste of Maryland Reception is for adults aged 21 and over, so MACo is holding a Kids’ Party at the same time! Childcare and entertainment will be provided by the Ocean City Department of Parks & Recreation. There will be games, crafts, and snacks for the children to enjoy while their parents enjoy the Reception. Children must be registered for the Kids’ Party in advance. View the registration policies and fill out the form here.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:



From the Mountains to the Shore – MACo’s Taste of Maryland Reception Has It All!

Attend MACo’s Taste of Maryland Reception to sample everything Maryland has to offer!

MACo is again offering the Taste of Maryland Reception at the upcoming Summer Conference.  We are striving to showcase everything Maryland has to offer—food and beverages from the shore to the mountains and everything in between—all produced in Maryland. Hundreds of conference participants will attend this session to sample locally produced food and beverages and learn more about Maryland’s tourism and agritourism industries!

This event has been such a hit that we’ve reorganized the layout to accommodate the crowds! The new layout is much more spacious and will allow for better browsing of all the offerings. Check it out!

Allegany County – Booth #806 – Wines from Toasted Goat Winery & Tasting

Anne Arundel County Economic Development – Booth #821 – Rogue Pierogies and beer from Crooked Crab Brewing

Baltimore City – Booth #807 – Berger Cookies

Calvert County – Booth #800 – Cakes by Amanda, Wine from Fridays Creek Winery, Running Hare Vineyard, Solomons Island Winery & Perigeaux Vineyards Winery

Carroll County – Booth #822 – Wine from Old Westminster Winery and coconut Macarons from JeannieBird Baking Company

Cecil County – Booth #805 – Mild & Spicy beef sticks from Galvinell Meat Company and chocolate covered sea salt caramel popcorn from North East Chocolates

Dorchester County – Booth #816 – Wines from Layton’s Chance Vineyard & Winery and oysters from Hoopers Island Oyster Aquaculture Company

Frederick County – Booth #814 –  Beer from Flying Dog & Milkhouse Brewery, Wine from Catoctin Breeze Vineyard and chocolate from Zoe’s Chocolate Company

Garrett County – Booth #825 – Cookies from Trader’s Coffee House

Harford County – Booth #813 – Cold Cappuccinos and Scones from Coffee Coffee

Kent County – Booth #827 – Gluten free brownies & lemon tarts from Figgs Ordinary

Montgomery County – Booth #803 and 804 – Gourmet caramels from Velatis

Queen Anne’s County – Booth #808 – Craft beer from Bull & Goat Brewery

Prince George’s County & M-NCPPC – Booth #817 and 818 – Wine from Romano Vineyard & Winery and brownies from Geppetto Catering Company

Somerset County – Booth #812 – Smith Island Cakes

Talbot County – Booth #823 – – Fisherman’s Daughter Brand Oysters from Phillips Wharf Environmental Center

Visit St. Mary’s MD – Booth #802 – Wine from Port of Leonardtown Winery

Washington County – Booth #819 and 820 – Cheeses, crackers, filo cups, bacon wrapped pretzel rods, Washington County beer and wine. Palmyra Farm Cheese, Pennland Pure Cheese, Caprikorn Farms Goate Cheese, Hoffman’s Meats, Long Lost Friends Farm, Milk and Honey Farm, Cool Ridge Vineyard, Big Cork Vineyards, Knob Hall Winery, Red Heifer Winery, Antietam Creek Vineyards

Wicomico County – Booth #809 – Individual samples of an assortment of pies from a local bakery – Ugly Pie

Worcester County – Booth #824 – Craft beer from Fin City Brewing Company

And more!!!!

Don’t miss the Taste of Maryland Reception on Thursday, August 16, from 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm at the MACo Summer Conference in Ocean City. This is a ticketed event for conference registrants only, so if you don’t have a ticket, please stop by the MACo registration desk to purchase one!

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Required Planning and Zoning Training Offered at #MACoCon

Learn about local government planning and zoning at the 2018 MACo Summer Conference. This course is required by State law if you are a planning board member, planning commissioner, or a Board of Appeals member.

Planning Board, Planning Commissioner and Board of Appeals Members Education Course


This FREE course satisfies a training requirement that was part of the Smart and Sustainable Growth Act of 2009, which requires Planning Commission, Planning Board, and Board of Appeals members to complete an education course within 6 months after appointment to the Commission or Board. The Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) and the Maryland Planning Commissioners Association (MPCA) is offering this course to all those who have not yet completed it.

The Course covers topics such as foundations of planning, the role of the comprehensive plan, standards for special exceptions and variances and implementing ordinances such as zoning and subdivision and adequate public facilities, planning law, ethics and the latest legislative and policy developments concerning planning in Maryland.

NOTE: You do not need to register for the conference to attend this course.


  • Charles W. Boyd, Director Planning Coordination, Maryland Department of Planning
  • Tracey Gordy, Regional Planner, Lower Eastern Shore Regional Office, Maryland Department of Planning
  • Keith Lackie, Regional Planner, Lower Eastern Shore Regional Office, Maryland Department of Planning
  • Paul Cucuzzella, Principal Counsel, Maryland Department of Planning

Date & Time: Wednesday, August 15, 2018; 9:00 am – Noon

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Feds Must Show Effects of Unfunded Mandates If This Bill Passes Congress

The House of Representatives has passed the Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act (UMITA), but the Senate has yet to act. The National Association of Counties supports the legislation.

The National Association of Counties is urging US Senate action on legislation recently passed by the US House of Representatives that would increase transparency on federal unfunded mandates and their effect on State and County governments.

From NACo:

UMITA sets a variety of guidelines to further require federal agencies to analyze the effects of federal regulations on state and local governments. First, it would set specific standards for federal agency consultation with state and local governments when that agency is considering a new rule or regulation. UMITA would also require federal agencies to include consultation activities with state and local governments in annual compliance statements. Additionally, it allows the chair or ranking member of any standing or select congressional committee leadership to request a “lookback” of regulations to evaluate the financial impact of federal regulations.

According  to NACo, the U.S. Senate has not taken up the companion version of the UMITA bill. NACo encourages counties to ask their senators to support this legislation or similar bills.

For more information, see House passes bill enhancing transparency and coordination with local governments on unfunded mandates from the NACo blog.

The MACo Summer Conference will feature a federal policy update from Maryland’s US Senator Ben Cardin on Friday, August 17, 2018; 10:30 am – 11:30 am. In a town hall setting, Senator Cardin will give an update on legislation in the 115th Congress and speak with county elected officials about their top priorities.

Senator Cardin was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006. He is a senior member of the Environment & Public Works Committee and Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee and serves on the Senate Finance Committee.


Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:


Fueling #MACoCon with Washington Gas

The Maryland Association of Counties would like to recognize Washington Gas for its continued sponsorship of the Summer Conference!Washington-Gas.png

Headquartered in Washington, DC, Washington Gas Light Company (Washington Gas Company) delivers natural gas to more than one million residential, commercial and industrial customers throughout Washington, DC, and the surrounding region.

Washington Gas is a regulated subsidiary of WGL Holdings, Inc., a public utility holding company. The unregulated affiliates of WGL Holdings are in energy-related businesses, selling natural gas and electric in competitive markets, and providing heating, ventilating and air-conditioning products and services.

Washington Gas has a long record of financial strength. As either WGL Holdings or Washington Gas, the company has paid dividends on common stock for 160 years and increased that dividend for the past 35 consecutive years.

Washington Gas is an active, concerned member of the business community and participates in numerous community service programs, focused on health, education, and the environment.

Thanks, Washington Gas for your continued support of the Maryland Association of Counties!

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: