Makeover Montgomery Land Use Conference Seeks Presentation Proposals

  The National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education,  Montgomery County Planning Department, and the Urban Studies and Planning Program at the University of Maryland are co-hosting the Makeover Montgomery:  Innovative Strategies for Rethinking America's Suburbs conference from April 14-16, 2011 in Silver Spring.  In preparation for the conference, the hosts are seeking research and presentation proposals  on planning, implementation, and financing of Smart Growth redevelopment and infrastructure.  Proposals must be submitted by November 5th  at 5:00 PM. …

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Prince George’s County Zoning Bill Raises Concerns

A proposed zoning law is receiving mixed responses from environmentalists and builders in Prince George’s County.  County Bill 80 states that on all  future development projects within the county, environmentally friendly features, such as trees, must be used to filter 100 percent of rain runoff.  The state of Maryland currently requires that new developments catch and filter 50 percent of all rain runoff. Counties are allowed to set higher standards if they so desire. With the bill set to be voted on October 26th, residents are voicing their opinions on the proposed legislation.  The Gazette reports

Environmental groups say most pollution in area waterways comes when rainfall washes rapidly off “impervious surfaces” such as area parking lots, roads and driveways without filtering into the ground.

The proposal calls for developers seeking to build new construction or redevelop old sites to submit detailed plans on how they will catch and filter all the rain that falls on the property before they can get a building permit. According to the proposal, when possible, developers should avoid clearing trees and leveling land for development, and builders would be encouraged to reduce paved surfaces and create landscape islands of trees and shrubs to handle storm water naturally.
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WYPR Radio Show Discusses Sustainable Growth in Economic and Environmental Context

An August 25 WYPR radio show, Midday With Dan Rodricks, discusses sustainable growth and potential flaws in Maryland's current economic growth model.  Panelists discuss sustainable growth from both an environmental and economic perspective, including the impact of growth on the Chesapeake Bay. Part 1 (MP3):  Features:  (1) Tom Horton, environmental author and journalist; (2) Andy Ratner, Director of Communications and Education, Maryland Department of Planning; and (3) John Kortekamp, Executive Vice President, Homebuilders Association of Maryland. Part 2 (…

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MDP Seeks 2011 Smart, Green & Growing Partnership Award Nominations

The Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) is seeking nominations for its 2011 Smart, Green & Growing Partnership Awards. The Smart, Green & Growing Partnership Award Program is designed to recognize groups and individuals that have gone above and beyond to make Maryland a better place with exceptional smart growth projects and practices.    Awards are given in the following recognition categories: Greenbuilding Government Innovation The Florence Beck Kurdle Award for Community Activism and Achievement Development &…

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Sustainable Growth Commission Members Appointed

On September 2 Governor Martin O'Malley announced his appointments to the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission.  The Commission, enacted by  HB 474/SB 278 of 2010,  is a long-term replacement for the Task Force on the Future for Growth and Development in Maryland and will provide a forum for the State, local governments, and other stakeholder groups to discuss growth and land use issues.  The Commission is set to expire in 2020. The Commission has a total of 36 members.  Task Force…

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MDP Releases PlanMaryland Public Forum Results

The Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) has published a summary of the group discussions and comments it received during its PlanMaryland public forums.  PlanMaryland:  What We're Hearing also provides demographic information on those who attended each of the 13 forums and shows how forum participants ranked each of the 12 planning visions that were adopted during the 2009 Session.  The three most important visions, as determined by the participants, are:  (1) Quality of Life and Sustainability:  A high quality of life…

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MACo and County Planners Highlight PlanMaryland Concerns

On August 9, MACo and the Maryland Association of County Planning Officials sent a jointly signed letter to Maryland Secretary of Planning Rich Hall concerning the implementation of PlanMaryland.  While the letter notes that MACo and the county planners have cautiously supported PlanMaryland, it also raises three concerns that should be addressed prior to PlanMaryland's final draft.  The three concerns include: (1) PlanMaryland should be designed to provide a macro-level view of growth in the State and…

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Sustainable Communities Rehabilitation Tax Credit Available For Commercial Properties

The Maryland Historical Trust   is now accepting applications for more than $10 million in Sustainable Communities Tax Credits for commercial rehabilitation projects in eligible communities.  The deadline for commercial project applications is September 15, 2010.  The Sustainable Communities Rehabilitation Tax Credit is available for commercial (income-producing) properties including office, retail, rental housing, etc. at different credit levels based on property type:  20% credit for "certified historic structures" 25% credit for "certified historic structures" that are high-performance…

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Complex Howard County Land Deal Highlights Preservation Challenges

A July 29 Baltimore Sun article discusses the complexity and challenges of a Howard County land preservation deal to preserve a significant portion of the estate and manor of Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  Some county residents also objected to the deal, which relies on a mix of development and preservation agreements. A plan to cluster development in one corner of historic Doughoregan Manor while preserving the rest of the once-vast Colonial estate received…

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Utility and Zoning Changes Needed for New Contract School in Anne Arundel

As reported by the Baltimore Sun, a developer has offered to build a new contract school as part of  a new development in the Laurel area, but first certain utility and zoning changes need to be approved by the county. Anne Arundel County Councilman James Benoit said Monday that he plans to ask County Executive John R. Leopold to allow the council to consider the county's public utilities plan in an effort to move forward…

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