The stakeholder group also underscored the benefits of community engagement during the planning process, with which the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) firmly agrees. Planning for housing starts by discussing a community’s vision for housing and continues through an analysis of housing policies and implementation measures. To help Maryland’s jurisdictions engage in such a dialogue about housing, Planning developed three self-assessments that may be used to spark a discussion.
The time to talk about planning for housing is early and often - not waiting until a housing project is proceeding through development review. Jurisdictions that ask if they are sufficiently addressing affordable housing need not look to Planning, but rather to themselves and their residents. These self-assessments represent a small part of an ongoing dialogue about housing, and not all questions will apply to your community. A “no” answer to a question does not indicate a planning deficiency, but rather presents a planning opportunity. To achieve the best outcomes, Planning recommends an open process and honest responses to these questions.
Planning also encourages jurisdictions to use the self-assessments to determine how well their existing housing elements or housing strategies address the requirements of HB 1045 (2019). They can serve as self-diagnostic tools for communities to determine whether they have adequately evaluated various aspects of housing. The housing priorities of each community are unique and the solutions to them must be tailored to the resources, capacity, and desire of the community to address them.
The model housing element development process, included in the housing practices section of this Models and Guidelines, notes where jurisdictions may want to consider using the self-assessments.
Housing Analysis and Policy
Housing Implementation and Regulations