Maryland's Smart Growth Program
Our Ohio Smart Growth Agenda calls for Ohio to adopt thekind of program that Maryland passed recently. Here's how the Maryland program works.
Led by Governor Parris Glendening, Maryland has realized that it can't afford another 25 years of growth like the last 25. Existing cities and towns can't take the losses of outmigration. The state can't afford to keep expanding roads and other infrastructure. The farm economy and the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay can't survive the continued paving of the countryside.
So Maryland has decided to stop subsidizing sprawl. Instead of serving every new subdivision out in the cornfields, the state will direct its funding and programs to improve the quality of life in existing communities. It's a simple, common-sense ideaa vote for sound maintenance, fiscal prudence and long-term sustainability
Called the "Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation Initiative," Maryland's program is a comprehensive investment and land-use strategy to slow sprawl that will go into effect in late 1998. The centerpiece of the plan is a law that directs state agencies to invest public funds for economic development in existing cities and towns, and to deny most allocations that encourage suburban sprawl.
The bulk of state economic development spending is to be made in "Priority Funding Areas." These include every existing city and town in the state, plus designated places where local governments and the state anticipate growth and have built or are planning to build water and sewer systems.
Local governments are required to provide the state Planning Office with maps that show the precise boundaries of the communities, rural villages, and previously developed regions that constitute their Priority Funding Areas. The Office of Planning is responsible for making this information available to other state agencies.
Public investments covered by the law include, but are not limited to: new roads, water and sewer systems, economic development grants, housing grants, leasing of state office space, and construction of new state office buildings, schools, government buildings, factories, retail stores, malls, and civic centers. Exceptions for projects outside Priority Funding Areas include those that protect public health or involve federal funds that cannot be constrained by state law.
The Maryland initiative includes specific policies for the redevelopment of cities and neighborhoods:
Preserving farmland and natural areas
The initiative also:
In short, the Maryland program is not a regulatory program that prohibits development. Rather it is an incentive program that harnesses the power of state investment to promote development in desirable locations.
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It just makes sense. People understand we cannot go on with sprawl eating up every acre of farmland and forest land. We cannot go on with programs that constantly cause deterioration in central cities and inner suburbs. We cannot keep using public funds to promote sprawl.