Maryland GOP wins minor battle on sprawl limits

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November 29, 2011

Maryland

ANNAPOLIS, Maryland: Republican lawmakers have won a minor victory in what they call the "War on Rural Maryland," convincing officials to delay implementation of a land-development plan until it has been reviewed by a senate committee.[1]

This decision has come after Senate Minority Leader E. J. Pipkin requested that PlanMaryland, an initiative to limit sprawl and protect the environment by favoring compact urban development, be reviewed. This sort of action is required because of a law enacted in 1974, which allows the governor to enact land-use policies without the say of the general assembly.[1]

The Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee will now meet with the Maryland Department of Planning on December 12 to review the initiative.[1]

The main concern with the land-use plan is that, if passed, it could use state funding to reward those counties that follow the plan or withhold funding as punishment for those that did not. Michael Sanderson, executive director of the Maryland Association of Counties said, “I think it’s unanimous, and not just a rural concern. Having elected officials who are accountable back home and familiar with their communities is the best instrument for making those policies.”[1]

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