Governor’s Smart Growth Subcabinet to Hold a Virtual Public Forum on Wednesday, December 14 at 1:00 p.m.

Planning in Progress

Significant accomplishments have occurred over the eight years of the Hogan Administration to advance sustainable growth that supports a strong economy and environmental stewardship across all of Maryland. Please join the Smart Growth Subcabinet agencies to hear about the work of the subcabinet to collaborate with local leaders, connect local communities to state resources, and achieve results across the state.

Following these important updates, the Smart Growth Subcabinet will hold the biannual public forum. This will be an opportunity for elected leaders and planning officials to discuss with the subcabinet local government issues relating to activities that affect smart growth, development, neighborhood conservation, and resource management.

To participate in the forum, you will need to register:

The Smart Growth Subcabinet oversees and advises on Maryland’s growth policies and laws and works to create, enhance, support, and revitalize sustainable communities across Maryland. Its members will provide updates on land use, environmental, housing, economic development, and transportation issues chosen by county elected officials and staff. Open audience discussion will round out the session. Don’t miss your chance to connect directly with agency heads on critical smart growth and land use issues.

Should you have a problem registering or have questions, please contact Chuck Boyd, Maryland Department of Planning, at Chuck.Boyd@maryland.gov, or (410) 767-1401.

Town of Thurmont Places its First Electric Vehicle and Charging Stations into Service

From Our Partners

Fig. 1 – Thurmont town officials, Becky Long, Jim Hemrick, and Linda Joyce posing with Chevrolet sales reps Doug Martin and Clayton Kennedy in front of the town’s first EV fleet vehicle and charging station.

The Town of Thurmont has placed its first all-electric fleet vehicle (or EV) into service. The 2023 Chevy Bolt was purchased from Criswell Chevrolet in Thurmont in October. The new vehicle is assigned to the Town of Thurmont’s municipal offices and will be used by office staff for administrative functions. Partial funding for the vehicle purchase comes from a Maryland Smart Energy Grant from the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA).

“As a Sustainable Maryland Certified Community and a Smart Energy Community, sustainability is a vital component of the job that we do,” said Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick. “This new electric vehicle is another way we can continue to achieve these lofty sustainability goals and objectives.”

The town also received grant funding for two electric vehicle charging stations from the Maryland Charge Ahead Grant Program, which is funded through the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. These charging stations are located at the municipal offices and the Thurmont police department, and are for town employees and fleet vehicles only. However, the town plans to apply for additional grant funding later this year to purchase and install electric vehicle charging stations for public use.

Annexation Frequently Asked Questions

Planning in Progress

by Joseph Griffiths, AICP, local Assistance and Training Manager

In the December 2021 edition of Planning Practice Monthly, the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) introduced our Priority Funding Areas (PFAs) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). In the April 2022 edition we introduced our Comprehensive Plan FAQs.

For the third edition in our FAQ series, Planning is sharing our Municipal Annexation FAQs. The Local Government Article Division II, Title 4, Subtitle 4, governs requirements for town and city annexations. At least 30 days prior to the public hearing during which a legislative body may approve an annexation, the municipality must submit the annexation plan to Planning for review and feedback.

Planning reviews annexation plans per the requirements of Local Government Article § 4-416. Planning also considers the annexed area for PFA certification, as well as any other areas of state interest. Please see our instructions and guidance for annexation submissions for more information.

In these FAQs, Planning developed responses for questions on annexation law, the annexation process, the connection between annexations and comprehensive plans, PFAs and annexations, post annexation procedures, and where to locate additional annexation resources.

At Planning, we know PFAs, comprehensive plans, and annexations, and we hope that these FAQs will help you better understand them as well.

If you would like to request FAQs on a specific planning topic, please contact Joe Griffiths, Local Assistance and Training Manager, at joseph.griffiths@maryland.gov.

Interagency Workgroups Share the Benefits of Three Years of Regional Coordination

Planning in Progress

by Joseph Griffiths, AICP, local Assistance and Training Manager

In March 2019, staff representatives for every Maryland state agency on the Commerce Subcabinet (Subcabinet) met in Lanham to discuss a new initiative titled Regional Resources. The Subcabinet established interagency staff teams representing five regions (Eastern Shore, Baltimore Metro, Southern Maryland, Western Maryland, and Washington Metro) to collaborate in business and community development across the state.

Fig. 1 – Screenshot showing Maryland Regional Resources home page.

The regional teams meet monthly, frequently inviting guest speakers from statewide economic development associations and regional organizations to join the collaboration. The teams also submit bi-monthly reports to the Subcabinet and coordinate on targeted projects. Additionally, staff from the Maryland Departments of Commerce (Commerce) and the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) organized a collaborative work and reporting structure for the new Regional Resources Workgroup and developed a program website.

The regional teams navigated many challenges that arose over the past three years, specifically the threats posed by the crisis of pandemic and the opportunities presented by pandemic recovery. Team leaders incorporated new members in response to state agency and Subcabinet requests and successfully leveraged interagency collaboration to address priority projects.

Through it all, the workgroup to the challenge of Governor Hogan’s Customer Service Promise and advanced objectives outlined in A Better Maryland to “respect regional distinctions” and “improve collaboration and coordination among state agencies.”

Perhaps most importantly over these past three years, the teams established cross-agency professional relationships in support of Maryland’s communities and the work of their own agencies. At the October 4, 2022, Subcabinet meeting, the regional teams offered testimonials, compiled in the video linked below. Here, they express the importance of the Regional Resource initiative in their own words.

To learn more about the Regional Resources Workgroup, please contact Joe Griffiths, Local Assistance and Training Manager for the Maryland Department of Planning, at joseph.griffiths@maryland.gov

New Decade Means New Comprehensive Plans

Local Spotlight

Many jurisdictions coordinate new comprehensive plans with the arrival of the decennial census. Census data is the foundation for comprehensive planning, providing a snapshot of Maryland communities, outlining growth trends, and distinguishing key demographic indicators.

In 2013, House Bill 409 increased the review period for comprehensive plans from six to ten years. To learn more about the ten-year cycle and when your jurisdiction’s review is due, please visit Planning’s Comprehensive Plan 10-Year Review Cycle webpage.

As the lead agency for both the Maryland Census 2020 and the 60-day review of comprehensive plans and amendments, Planning is steeped in this topic. Planning began listing comprehensive planning efforts in the September 2020 Planning Practice Monthly and will continue to track and publish website links in future editions.

If you are aware of a comprehensive planning process currently underway but not listed, please contact Joe Griffiths, Local Assistance and Training Manager, at joseph.griffiths@maryland.gov and we will be sure to add it to the list.

Recently Adopted!

Adelphi Road-UMGC/UMD Purple Line Station Area Sector Plan, Prince George’s County

Thrive Montgomery 2050  , Montgomery County

Town of Washington Grove 2021 Comprehensive Plan, Montgomery County

Under Development

planAberdeen, Harford County

Annapolis Ahead, Anne Arundel County

Our Baltimore, Baltimore City

Master Plan 2030, Baltimore County

Brookeville, Update to Transportation, Pedestrian Networks & Streetscaping Elements, Montgomery County

Cecil County Comprehensive Plan

Town of Denton Comprehensive Plan Update, Caroline County

Emmitsburg Comprehensive Plan Amendment, Frederick County

Town of Friendsville Comprehensive Plan Update, Garrett County

Town of Galena’s Comprehensive Plan 2031, Kent County

Garrett County Comprehensive Plan 2021

HoCo By Design, Howard County

Loch Lynn Heights Comprehensive Plan, Garrett County

Middletown, 2020 Comprehensive Plan, Frederick County

Town of Mt. Airy Master Plan – 2023, Carroll and Frederick counties

Town of Myersville, Frederick County

Town of New Windsor Comprehensive Plan Update, Carroll County

The Sugarloaf Treasured Landscape Management Plan, Frederick County

St. Mary’s County Comprehensive Plan Update

Town of Walkersville Comprehensive Plan Update 2020-21, Frederick County

Washington County Comprehensive Plan 2040

West Hyattsville-Queens Chapel Sector Plan, Prince George’s County

New Additions!  

Town Center Expansion Area Amendment, Calvert County

St. Michaels Municipal Growth Area Expansion, Talbot County

Town of Easton 2023 Comprehensive Plan Update, Talbot County