Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gov. O'Malley Signs "PlanMaryland" Executive Order // Play the Video Game & Watch the Video

UPDATE: Maryland Juice just noticed a few cool features to the PlanMaryland website: 1) PlanMaryland Video Game, 2) PlanMaryland Social Media Portal, and 3) PlanMaryland Citizen Input Map.

Numerous media outlets recently reported that Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed an Executive Order advancing his smart growth plan, dubbed PlanMaryland. If you've been listening to conservatives in the Free State lately, you would think that Mr. O'Malley was plotting to seize private land or carpetbomb rural parts of Maryland. The Washington Times noted GOP Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin called PlanMaryland a "War on Rural Maryland." The Potomac Tea Party Report blog yesterday announced: "O’Malley signs Executive Order on PlanMaryland; citizens lose/UN wins." I believe the opposition to PlanMaryland can be categorized into a few groups:
  • Global warming deniers/Tea Party
  • Sprawl developers and/or rural-exurban landowners
  • the GOP (either because it is now a regional/rural party or because it seeks wedge issues)

Granted, there are ordinary Maryland residents that are opposed to the policy for various reasons, but that is true for any policy change -- especially when it involves land use. The organized opposition -- and misinformation -- is emanating (in my opinion) from a partisan source. But Michael Dresser from The Baltimore Sun provided a decent snapshot of the rationale for PlanMaryland:
At a ceremony that included two of his Democratic predecessors, O'Malley formally accepted the plan, which had gone through two draft versions before being adopted. The plan has been decried by conservative county officials and Republican legislators as a usurpation of local power over land use, but O'Malley defended it Monday as a framework for making wise decisions about where the state should invest in capital projects....

O'Malley said the plan will not dictate local land-use policies but will guide state spending, steering money away from projects that promote sprawling development.

"The state's not going to be a part of those stupid decisions, and we're not going to be subsidizing stupid decisions — pardon me — unsustainable decisions," O'Malley said....
[Former Gov. Paris] Glendening, architect of the 1997 law that made smart growth state policy, called the adoption of the plan "a major movement ahead." He said the policy would strengthen the state's effort....

The plan seeks to discourage the spread of what it calls "large lot development areas" — subdivisions that are typically built with septic systems rather than with public water and sewer. The policy explicitly seeks to discourage the spread of such developments by minimizing funding for programs that fuel such growth.
The Maryland Planning Department had this introductory video on the topic from Gov. O'Malley:

Here is a slideshow that presented PlanMaryland to attendees of this year's Maryland Association of Counties Conference. It provides a decent overview of the reasons behind the smart growth plan:

PlanMaryland Slideshow: MaCo Conference 8/19/11

Read Gov. O'Malley's PlanMaryland Executive Order:

PlanMaryland Executive Order 12/20/11

More on PlanMaryland soon!

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