Maryland crafts sustainable growth plan

Maryland is creating its first long-range plan for sustainable growth. “PlanMaryland,” is the culmination of state mandate first outlined in the 1970s. The plan is designed to combine smart growth projects more effectively with state government programs to facilitate a coordinated public and private process.

During the coming year, state agencies will work to identify changes in strategy to achieve the goals of the plan and will work with local governments on delineating areas for future state investment, growth and preservation. State officials have put together a new website and YouTube video to outline the plan and its effects.

“We need PlanMaryland because the rate of land conversion for development has grown at triple the rate of population since 1970. That is not sustainable,” said Planning Secretary Hall. “Without a smarter approach, we’ll face billions of dollars in additional cost for more road and school construction.”

The plan is the result of four years of development including meetings with more than 3,000 people across the state and thousands more reached online through surveys and social media — one of the largest outreach efforts of its kind in Maryland planning history. More than 300 comments were received during two public comment periods in summer and fall 2011. The second comment period was added after local officials in August requested more time for deliberation.

The Plan fulfills legislation from the General Assembly in 1959, 1974, 2007 and 2010 that required or laid out the process for a state development plan — a mandate that until now had gone unmet.

Maryland has been working to streamline and upgrade state services in a variety of areas including broadband and open data, these efforts will contribute to the sustainable growth plan.