Smart Growth Legislation
2006 Planning Legislation
House Bill 1141 and House Bill 2 from the 2006 Maryland General Assembly
Two successful bills from the 2006 session of the Maryland Assembly, House Bill 1141 and House Bill 2, significantly affected comprehensive plans, annexations and land preservation programs. This legislation requires that three new elements (i.e., chapters) now be included in local comprehensive plans. HB 1141 requires that all county and municipal governments include a Water Resources Plan Element (WRE) and that all municipalities include a Municipal Growth Element (MGE). The WRE addresses the relationship of planned growth to water resources for both waste disposal and safe drinking water. The MGE requires a municipality to identify areas for future growth consistent with a long-range vision for its future. Both the Water Resources and Municipal Growth Elements must be included in all comprehensive plans no later than October 1, 2009.
The Agricultural Stewardship Act of 2006, HB 2, adds a Priority Preservation Element (PPE) to the list of additional plan elements that a county may include in its comprehensive plan. However, for counties with certified agricultural land preservation programs, the element became mandatory as of July 1, 2008. Requirements for certified counties under this element are described in Section 2-518 of the Agricultural Article and §5-408 of the State Finance and Procurement Article.
House Bill 1160 in this session also established a Workforce Housing Element that must assess workforce-housing needs and contain goals, objectives and policies that preserve or develop workforce housing. This element is necessary for a local government to qualify for participation in a Workforce Housing Grant Program.
HB 1141 also established the Task Force on the Future for Growth and Development in Maryland to study current trends and challenges as they relate to population and growth, to analyze the impact of current local policies on infrastructure and the environment, and to make recommendations to implement law or regulations that further best management practices as they relate to future growth and development in the State. SB 773 amended the Task Force in the 2007 session. The report of the Task Force was presented to Governor O’Malley on January 12, 2009.
Planning Legislation: House Bill 1141 and House Bill 2
The 2006 session of the Maryland General Assembly was the most active session relating to planning and zoning legislation in many years. Key legislation was passed (House Bill 1141 and House Bill 2) that will affect comprehensive plans, annexations and land preservation programs. This includes new and expanded elements required in all comprehensive plans. The law makes changes to basic land use planning and zoning requirements and annexation procedures, agricultural land preservation, and Maryland's Smart Growth programs.
The following page contains information and publications that will prove useful as jurisdictions analyze what the new requirements of the law mean to them
This page was last updated: 2013-01-03