Population: 5,296,486
Counties: 24
Governor Parris Glendening

Click here for the amount of protected land in Maryland, and click here to review Marland's federal transportation spending.
Source:  Pew Center on the States & Changing Direction:  Federal Transportation Spending in the 1990s. Surface Transportation Policy Project

Click here to read Governor Parris Glendening's 2001 State of the State address.

In 1992, Maryland made some fairly significant amendments to state planning laws with the enactment of the Economic Growth, Resource Protection and Planning Act (Growth Act).1 Among other things, the Act requires local commissions to make recommendations for streamlining of development regulations in areas designated for growth, and it required local planning commissions to enact by 1997 a sensitive area element containing goals and standards to protect sensitive areas from the adverse impacts of development.2  In addition, plans are to reflect seven visions identified in the Act, and all plans are to be reviews every six years.3

The Growth Act called for the creation of the Economic Growth, resource Protection, and Planning Commission ("Commission").4  The Commission's function is to provide the Governor and the General Assembly with an annual report which details state and local compliance with the Growth Act and explores new solutions for improved compliance.5  In determining the success of the Growth Act through 1996, the Commission relied on five principles which have been incorporated into the Act and in light of which any new growth management legislation should be promulgated.6

According to the Report, strengths of the growth Act in promoting these principles are reflected in the preservation of local land use authority, the flexibility in unique local conditions, the focus on sate and local activities ondirected growth in a consistent manner, and its measure of progress and potential for future action.7  The Committee provided the following seven specific conclusions and recommendations for improving the Act's effectiveness: 1) preservation of the four guiding principles,8 2) a consensus between local and State definitions of the seven Visions; 3) coordination of local plans on a regional level; 4) formal program for growth indicators at a local State level; 5) formal mechanisms to guide State agency actions in support of local plans for growth and resource protection; and to promote a broader vision of regional and Statewide actions for economic growth, development and protection; 6) development of a sound and growing economic base to protect natural resources; and 7) target of outlays to improve infrastructure, public safety, schools and transportation investments.9

Faced with the prospect of unplanned sprawl development due to an expected population increase of 1 million people by the year 2020 combined with continuing urban (and suburban) flight, the Maryland General Assembly enacted Governor Glendenning's Neighborhood Conservation and Smart Growth (Smart Growth) initiatives in 1997.10  The developers, and local officials and to provide the State with programmatic and fiscal tools to help local governments comply with the State's growth policies.11

The central component of Smart Growth is the Areas Priority Funding initiative. Beginning October 1, 1998, the state will concentrate its project funding in areas designated as "priority funding areas" to encourage economic development and new growth in existing developments and communities as well as growth in pre designated areas of the State.12  Other program initiatives include the Rural Legacy Program13 designed to preserve agricultural, forest, and natural resource lands; the Brownfields Program14 designed to encourage redevelopment of abandoned or underutilized industrial sites: the Job Creation Tax Credit Act15 which provides income tax credits to business owners who create at least 25 jobs in a Priority Funding Area; and the Live Near Your Work Program16 which provides home buyers who purchase in older neighborhoods near their jobs with a minimum of $3,000 toward the purchase of their home.17

Governor Glendenning issued an executive order in 1998 detailing the policies and procedures state agencies are to follow in meeting the visions in the 1992 Planning Act which also guide the Smart Growth measure.18  In addition, the Order establishes a Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation Sub-Cabinet to provide a forum for interagency coordination.19

Reports from Maryland have, on the whole, been positive.20  The Planning Act and subsequent Smart Growth Act have generated a lot of visibility for growth management in Maryland.21  Local governments, concerned about untamed growth, have been revising their plans.22 Counties have been involved in zoning previously unrestricted areas, downsizing, and designating growth areas in the competition for state funds.23  In addition to providing assistance to the Economic Growth, Resource Protection, and Planning Commission the Office of Planning has been instrumental in providing regional and local governments with technical assistance and advice as regions and localities attempt to bring their local plans into compliance with management mandates.24  A Smart Growth Website has been put on-line,25 and slick public information brochures have been developed to support the program.26  In his FY 2000 budget, the Governor proved his commitment to smart growth by eliminating funding for five highway projects not consistent with the Smart Growth Act.27

The above material is excerpted with permission from "Smart Growth at Century's End: The State of the States" by Patricia E. Salkin, published in The Urban Lawyer, Sumr 1999 v 31 n 3, p. 601.  For a complete copy of the article, please contact The Urban Lawyer.

"Governor Puts MD Money on Smart Growth: Counties Could Lose Cash by Acting Against Policy," Washington Post. August 20, 2000.

"Duncan Aims to Double Affordable Housing," Washington Post. January 9, 2001.

"$145 million proposed for Maryland Lands," Washington Post.  January 10, 2001.

"State transit credit stalls," Baltimore Sun. March 19, 2001.

"County adds more than 650 acres to farmland preservation program," Baltimore Sun. April 12, 2001.

"Pr. George's, Montgomer Schools Get $91 million," Washington Post. May 8, 2001.

American Farmland Trust
1200 18th Street, NW
Suite 800
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: 202-331-7300

Chesapeake Bay Foundation
162 Prince George Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
Tel: 410-268-8816

1000 Friends of Maryland
1209 N. Calvert 
Baltimore, MD 21202
Tel: 410-385-2910

Maryland Office of Planning
301 West Preston Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-2365
Tel: 410-767-4505


1 The Economic Growth, Resource Protection, and Planning Act Amendments of 1992, Article 66B, Annotated Code of Maryland, Zoning and Planning.
2 Id.
3 306(b): [T]he commission shall implement the following visions through the plan described in 305 of this article: (1) Development is concentrated in suitable areas: (2) Sensitive areas are protected: (3) In rural areas, growth is directed to existing population centers and resource areas are protected: (4) Stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay and the land is a universal ethic: (5) Conservation of resources, including a reduction in resource consumption, is practiced: (6) To assure through (5) of this subsection, economic growth is encouraged and regulatory mechanisms are streamlined; and (7) Funding mechanisms are addressed to achieve these visions.
4 Noonan, James T. and Moran, Gail. "Implementation of Maryland's Economic Growth, Resource Protection, and Planning Act," FAY/FIU Joint Center for Environmental and Urban Problems, p. 14.
5 Id.
6 1) Local governments should retain primary responsibility for land use decisions; 2) Each region of the State is different, thereby eliminating a one-size-fits-all approach; 3) The State should consider the growth implications of all of its actions, inlcuding infrastructure funding; 4) The State should coordinate land use efforts which affect economic development, interjurisdictional conflicts, regional arrangements, and environmental issues. Economic Growth, Resource Protection, and Planning Commission 1996 Annual Report, Volume 1, p. 3-4.
7 Id. at 5-6.
8 Supra, p.8.
9 Id. at 7-8.
10 Maryland State Finance and Procurement Code Ann. 5-7B-01 (1997).
11 Id.
12 Maryland municipalities, exisinting communities, industrial areas, and planned growth areas designated by counties will receive priority funding under Smart Growth. Id.
13 Maryland Natural Resources Code Ann. 5-9A-01 (1997).
14 Maryland Ann. Code art. 41 14-805 (1997 Redevelopement Bond Act).
15 Maryland Ann. Code art. 83A, 5-1101 (1997).
16 The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development implements this demonstration program.
17 Id.
18 Executive Order 01.01.1998.04. See also, The Growth Management Reporter, vol. 4, no. 4 (1998). The order requires state agencies to:
-give priority to central business districts, dowtown cores, empowerment zones and revitalization areas when funding infrastructure projects or locating new facilities;
-review, evaluate and coordinate programs, services and activities in Priority Funding Areas to enhace and support community revitalization;
-work with local jurisdictions to ensure that programs and activities in rural areas will sustain the character of villages in the areas;
-encourage locating workshops, conferences and other meetings in Priority Funding Areas and support available businesses in these areas when planning such activities; and
-encourage federal agencies to adopt flexible regulations and standards which are more responsive to State and local policies and can be used to support the Smart Growth policies.
19 Id.
20 Telephone conversation with Gail Moran, Maryland Office of Planning, October 23, 1997.
21 Id. See also,
22 Id.
23 Id.
24 The Office of Planning has aggressively been pursuing the use of computer technology to improve planning assitance. For instance, "drawing" software shows localities the results or impacts of their local planning decisions while GIS is being used to guide regional decisions such as transportation and watershed protection. Maryland Office of Planning Annual Report, 1995/1996.
26 For example, "Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation: A Legacy for Our Children" is a 16 page color guide for the public written, designed and produced by the Maryland Office of Planning.
27 See, Salkin, "Statewide Comprehensive Planning: The Next Wave," in Statewide Comprehensive Planning (American Bar Association 1993).