|Governor Larry Hogan Signs Executive Order to Create New State Development Plan
Highlights Partnership Between State Government and Counties, Need for Local Input in Planning Process
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today delivered the closing address of the annual Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) Summer Conference at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in Ocean City. During his address, the governor announced his signing of Executive Order 01.01.2017.18, which directs state officials to create a new State Development Plan (SDP) that promotes smart growth initiatives, while being significantly more responsive to the needs of local jurisdictions than previous plans.
“As I have traveled across Maryland, local elected officials have repeatedly asked for a plan that better reflects the needs of our state,” Governor Hogan said. “One that will improve coordination between state agencies and local governments, support thoughtful growth and infrastructure planning, stimulate economic development and revitalization in existing and planned communities, and will conserve and enhance the state’s natural and cultural resources.
“This new process will be transparent and collaborative with the primary goal of creating a better framework for a better Maryland. And this time, the state will work closely with citizens, counties, and local jurisdictions. Most importantly, we will finally put local planning authority back into the hands of local governments – where it belongs.”
The governor’s executive order directs the Maryland Department of Planning, in collaboration with the Smart Growth Subcabinet and the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission, to create a new State Development Plan. Maryland has been required to have a state development plan since the 1950s, however the most recent plan was adopted more than five years ago.
The executive order requires the new plan to be forward-thinking, responsive to local governments, and a flexible 21st-century blueprint to improve the quality of life for Marylanders, while promoting responsible growth and protecting the state’s resources. The group tasked with developing the plan will work closely with citizens, cities and towns, local jurisdictions, and regional stakeholders to ensure that concerns and input of local governments are not only received, but also incorporated in any final plan.
“As we work together on this new development plan, local jurisdictions can expect state government to be responsive to their needs, while working with them as a partner to improve quality of life, preserve our natural and cultural resources, and to promote economic development that supports their long-term planning goals,” said Department of Planning Secretary Wendi Peters.
During his address, the governor outlined the many ways that the administration has worked with local leaders throughout the state, including fighting the heroin and opioid epidemic, instituting common sense regulatory reform, protecting Maryland’s natural resources, and defeating the Road Kill Bill this past legislative session.
In March, Maryland became the first state in the nation to declare an official State of Emergency in response to the evolving heroin and opioid epidemic. This enables the state to better coordinate with local agencies in order to respond to this crisis and provide prevention, treatment, and enforcement services. In addition, the governor committed an additional $50 million in new funding to help turn the tide in this deadly fight and save lives of Marylanders across the state.
Last year, based on feedback from Maryland jurisdictions and constituents, Governor Hogan announced that the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) would revisit a 2012 mandate to require Best Available Technology (BAT) septic systems outside counties’ Critical Areas, a regulation that created a cost-prohibitive burden on Maryland homeowners and businesses. MDE eliminated the requirements outside the Critical Areas, ensuring that environmental safeguards remain in place, while reducing an unnecessary regulatory burden.
Since 2015, the administration has worked tirelessly to protect the state’s greatest natural asset, the Chesapeake Bay, by investing more than $3 billion toward Bay restoration efforts, the most ever in state history. In addition, the administration has invested $145 million in the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund, $325 million in the Bay Restoration Fund, and invested another $350 million in Program Open Space and other land preservation programs.
The Hogan administration is working with local leaders across the state to rebuild Maryland’s transportation infrastructure. Working with stakeholders in local jurisdictions, the administration succeeded in repealing the Road Kill Bill, which jeopardized nearly all of the most important transportation projects in every county in the state.
The administration is now moving forward on nearly all of the top priority transportation projects in every jurisdiction and has invested a total of $14.8 billion in the Consolidated Transportation Plan. There are nearly 1,000 transportation projects totaling $9 billion currently under construction across the state, and the Department of Transportation has resurfaced nearly one-third of the entire state highway system.
The governor also reaffirmed his commitment to fully restoring Highway User Revenues, transportation funding that is critical to many counties and that had been severely reduced under the previous administration.
“To all of Maryland’s county leaders, I want to thank each and every one of you for your service to our state, and for your dedication to your communities,” said Governor Hogan. “The Maryland Association of Counties has been an incredible partner for our administration, and we will continue to do everything we can to foster and strengthen that partnership.”