Economic Growth, Resource Protection, and Planning Act
The 1992 Economic Growth, Resource Protection, and Planning Act articulates the State's growth policy through seven visions (the General Assembly added an eighth vision in 2000) centered on concentrating development in suitable areas, protecting sensitive areas, and establishing funding mechanisms to achieve the visions. The Act also requires local jurisdictions to address these same visions in their comprehensive plans. All local jurisdictions with few exceptions, incorporated these visions into their comprehensive plans on or before July 1, 1997. Under the Act, local governments are required to review, and if necessary, update their plans once every six years...
Click to Read More
These are the eight visions from the 1992 Planning Act.
Development is concentrated in suitable areas.
Sensitive areas are protected.
In rural areas, growth is directed to existing population centers and resource areas are protected.
Stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay and the land is a universal ethic.
Conservation of resources, including a reduction in resource consumption, is practiced.
To assure the achievement of items (1) through (5) of this section, economic growth is encouraged and regulatory mechanisms are streamlined.
Adequate public facilities and infrastructure under the control of the county or municipal corporation are available or planned in areas where growth is to occur.
Funding mechanisms are addressed to achieve these Visions.
The Economic Growth, Resource Protection, and Planning policy is codified in §5-7A-01 of the State Finance and Procurement Article of the Annotated Code. The visions are codified in §3.06(b) of Land Use Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
1997 Planning Legislation
Priority Funding Areas Act (click heading to expand)
The 1997 Priority Funding Areas Act directs State funding for growth related infrastructure to Priority Funding Areas (PFAs), providing a geographic focus for State investment in growth. PFAs are existing communities and places where local governments want State funding for future growth. Growth-related projects include most State programs that encourage growth and development such as highways, sewer and water construction, economic development assistance, and State leases or construction of new office facilities. The Act legislatively designated certain areas as PFAs - municipalities (as they existed on January 1, 1997), Baltimore City, areas inside the Baltimore and Capital Beltways, Department of Housing and Community Development Designated Neighborhoods - and established criteria for locally designated PFAs. The criteria include permitted density, water and sewer availability, and designation as a growth area in the comprehensive plan.
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.
HB 1141 is codified in Md. Code Ann., State Pers. & Pens. § 5-7B-02, -03; Md. Ann. Code art. 23A, §§ 9, 19 ; Md. Code Ann., LU Title 1, Subtitles 1 and 4 and Title 3, Subtitle 1-3 and Title 4, Subtitle 2 and Title 7, Subtitle 3
HB 2 is codified in Md. Code Ann., Agric. §§ 2-505, 2-518, and 8-405; Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 12-115; Md. Code Ann., SFP § 5-408; Md. Code Ann., Econ. Dev. Title 10, Subtitle 5; Md. Code Ann., LU Title 1, Subtitles 1 and 4 and Title 3, Subtitle 1-3
The Smart and Sustainable Growth Act of 2009 is codified in Md. Code Ann., LU Title 1, Subtitles 1-4 and Title 2, Subtitle 1 and Title 3, Subtitles 1-3 and Title 4, Subtitles 2 and 3 and Title 10, Subtitles 1 and 2; Md. Code Ann., Nat. Res. § 8-1808.1
Smart Growth Measures and Markers
Directs local jurisdictions and the State to collect smart growth measures and indicators and establishes a statewide land use goal.
Link to One Page Summary
The Sustainable Communities Act of 2010 strengthens reinvestment and revitalization in Maryland's older communities by reinventing an existing rehabilitation tax credit and extending the life of the credit through 2014, simplifying the framework for designated target areas in the Community Legacy (CL) and Neighborhood BusinessWorks (NBW) program by creating "Sustainable Communities", establishing a new transportation focus on older communities, and enhancing the role of the Smart Growth Subcabinet (SGSC) in the revitalization of communities.
The Sustainable Communities Act of 2010 is codified in Md. Code Ann., Econ. Dev. § 5-1304; Md. Code Ann., Hous. & Cmty. Dev. § 6-104, -201 to -213, -301 to -306; Md. Code Ann., SFP § 5A-303; Md. Code Ann., State Gov’t § 9-1406; Md. Code Ann., Transp. §§ 2-701 to -703, 7-101.
Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission
The Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission continues the vital work started by the Task Force on the Future for Growth and Development. This law transforms the original task force into the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission by expanding its charge and extending its membership and tenure. The Commission will provide the State with a broad representation of stakeholders who can continue to promote a smart and sustainable growth agenda and to build on the work of the task force. Commission members who represent a region of the State must have knowledge of smart growth and planning issues.
The Maryland General Assembly approved the Sustainable Growth & Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012, also known as the septics law, during the 2012 General Assembly session.
As part of its technical assistance responsibility under the law, MDP is providing guidance to local jurisdictions and a web mapping application. The web application provides the key components for local jurisdictions to create their tier map. MDP is also available to help jurisdictions that might need additional assistance.
Sustainable Communities Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Designation and Financing Law
The 2013 TIF law, “Sustainable Communities – Designation and Financing,” authorizes municipalities and counties to finance the cost of infrastructure improvements in a Sustainable Community in the same manner as an MDOT designated TOD. This legislation was the result of recommendations of the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission to enable local governments to make important infrastructure and asset investments in their Sustainable Communities areas to spur economic development and to ensure quality of life and livable communities.
The TIF law is enabling to local governments – they are not required to use it in their Sustainable Community areas. It provides for new uses for TIF funding that include historic preservation, environmental remediation, demolition, site preparation, parking lots, facilities, highways or transit that support SC areas, schools and affordable or mixed use housing. The law directs state funding to be prioritized in a specific Sustainable Community when a jurisdiction has taken advantage of this expanded TIF funding or provided other infrastructure funding to support revitalization of that Sustainable Community.
Sustainable Community areas would be treated similar to MDOT designated transit-oriented developments (TOD) for the purposes of bonds, special taxing districts and tax increment financing. This allows Sustainable Communities the opportunity to utilize the bonding authority of the Maryland Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO). MEDCO has the ability to finance, acquire, develop, own and/or operate projects for economic development purposes. Local governments may be able to reduce or eliminate the impact on their debt capacity by financing projects through MEDCO. A jurisdiction should consult its financial advisor to understand the impact of MEDCO financing on its credit profile and debt capacity.
The Sustainable Communities Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Designation and Financing Law is codified in Economic Development Article §12-201, §12-203 and §12-207 through §12- 211; Housing and Community Development Article §6-201, §6-205 and §6-214; Local Government Article §21-409, §21-410, §21-503 and §21-504 of the Annotated Code of Maryland; and The Charter of Baltimore City, Article II