The Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) promotes a vision for economic development, flexibility and local authority throughout Maryland. The agency helps Maryland's counties and municipalities in land use and resource planning and provides review and technical assistance on a variety of planning topics. In addition, Planning offers data, analysis and research assistance and policy development and implementation support to local governments as well as communities, businesses and other organizations.
As Planning monitors and forecasts changes in development and land use throughout the state, its staff creates tools that help plan Maryland's future. Information on demographic, socio-economic, political, cultural, geographic and land-use trends is collected, analyzed, and distributed in multiple formats. Planning supports interactive, web-based map display of census data, land-use, parcel data and aerial imagery to assist local government growth and land-use planning decisions.
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Planning Practice Monthly Latest Edition
MDP's Local Assistance and Training unit coordinates educational efforts, both locally and statewide. Staff publishes Planning’s newsletter, Planning Practice Monthly, to communicate statewide, regional, and local planning efforts of MDP, other state agencies, county and municipal planning departments, local governments, and others engaged in the field of Planning. Some topics recently covered include: Compatible Use Website and Handbook development; Renewable Energy Siting study; comprehensive planning; Maryland Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) connected and automated vehicle and electric vehicle programs; Maryland Planning Commissioners Association (MPCA) events and resource development; updates to the Water Resources Models & Guidelines; the Walktober 2022 webinar series; the Maryland State Data Center data releases; Planning’s Brownfield Technical Assistance program; and local spotlights of best planning practices in towns across Maryland. We hope you enjoy the latest edition highlighted below.
Models & Guidelines: The Housing Element
Planning has a long history of creating M&Gs to assist jurisdictions with their needs, particularly in response to new legislative requirements. The new Housing M&G builds upon this legacy and creates similar resources and guidance in response to House Bill (HB) 1045 (2019). Planning believes that state guidance can help Maryland’s communities meet the requirements of state law and address local housing objectives. While a housing element is now included as a mandatory element for comprehensive plans, and the new HB 1045 (2019) legislation provides specific definitions and requirements for low income and workforce housing, the format and strategies should be generated locally.
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Housing Element Models & Guidelines
Solar Facility Siting Guidance
In response to the recommendations of the Task Force on Renewable Energy and Development, Planning developed the Solar Facility Siting Guidance webpage to provide information and tools to facilitate the development and adjustment of local land use plans and recommendations with respect to solar facility siting to achieve local goals and objectives, including:
- Case studies of how local governments in Maryland have addressed solar facility siting, including best practices and lessons learned based on the experience of local governments;
- Case studies of solar facility siting on brownfields in Maryland;
- Summaries and links to documents and articles related to Maryland judicial and administrative decisions impacting local solar facility siting efforts; - An overview of Maryland processes for reviewing, modifying and approving proposals for utility-scale solar facilities;
- Links to the Maryland Smart DG+ online mapping application and Smart DG+ Zoning Guide;
- Information on ensuring compatibility of utility-scale solar facilities with military installations.
By providing this information, local governments seeking to develop or modify local solar facility siting standards can save time and ensure greater success in meeting local goals.
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Solar Facility Siting Guidance