Responding to your feedback, providing technical assistance for economic development and environmental priorities

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Planning Assistance in Action

Over the last 18 months, the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) with the Office of Smart Growth (Smart Growth) conducted over 84 meetings/listening sessions across the state on the new state development plan, A Better MarylandOne of the resounding themes was the need for technical assistance for smaller jurisdictions to help with economic development and environmental priorities. In an immediate response to address this need, Smart Growth and Planning collaborated with the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) in the summer of 2018 to secure a $50,000 grant for The University of Maryland’s (UMD) Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS) to expand its services for Maryland’s communities. More

Maryland Planning Commissioners Association Launches Regional Workshop Program in Hagerstown on March 29

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MPCA Corner

Participants in the Maryland Planning Commissioners Association’s (MPCA) summer ’17 outreach project expressed a strong desire for regional collaboration and enhanced opportunities for communication and peer to peer learning. The MPCA heard its membership and included the development of regional collaboration in its strategic plan, finalized in January 2019. More

Meet the Planning Staff: Kanishk Sharma

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Meet the Planning Staff

Kanishk Sharma joined the Maryland Department of Planning as the Director of Planning Data and Research in January 2019. Kanishk has extensive senior management experience in the private and government sectors. Previously, he has worked for large multinational corporations including Lockheed Martin, Deloitte Consulting and Merck and Co. More

Bel Air Armory: A Main Street Asset

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Planning Assistance in Action

Over the past century and a half, the Maryland Army National Guard (Guard) constructed masonry armory buildings throughout the state, many with a striking castle-like resemblance. The purpose of these structures varied, but they generally provided space for training, administration, assembly, and other support services for the Guard. As the demands and training needs of the Guard have changed, so have the dimensions and designs of armories, now called readiness centers. But many of the older structures still stand. While many jurisdictions own these structures and have successfully adapted them to new uses, many still stand vacant. One reuse success story is found in Harford County’s Bel Air community. More

WalkWicomico Puts Planning on its Feet

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Planning Assistance in Action

Bipedalism (the ability to walk on two feet) is a core, if not the core, human characteristic. It allowed us to carry supplies and loved ones, and honed our hunting abilities. Millenia of community construction unfolded along the path of our feet, and this influence persists. Walkability is a common term in a planner’s vocabulary, an oft-cited goal in comprehensive plans, and a physical aspect of our communities attracting local families and tourists to Maryland’s streamside paths and main streets. We are comfortable addressing walkability objectives using design, land use, and infrastructure. Complete streets and shorter blocks draw pedestrians into engaging strolls along the sidewalk. An integrated mix of residential, commercial, employment, and entertainment uses make that short walk much more appealing, not to mention convenient. Traffic calming measures and pedestrian-centric intersections mute the threat posed by person and vehicle interaction. These are and will remain proven and effective planning strategies enhancing walkability. But what if the people never show up? What good is a wide sidewalk, or even better, one with outdoor seating at your favorite restaurant on a bright spring afternoon, if no one is there to use it? Planners can’t neglect the biggest part of the walkability equation – the walkers. More

A Better Maryland – Thank You from Planning

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Thank you

The Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) would like to thank everyone who has attended one of our community meetings as part of the second round of outreach for A Better Maryland. We are excited to see a few of the same faces from the first round, but even more excited to see new people join the conversation. The draft strategies have sparked productive back and forth dialogues between Planning staff and participants, but even more importantly, between the participants themselves. The meetings have provided project staff with an unexpected benefit as well. As mentioned elsewhere, environmental preservation and economic development form the core of A Better Maryland, but as the meetings have unfolded, previously unseen connections between strategies, across topics, have started to crystalize. Marylanders want good planning and responsive state government, something we plan to deliver as part of A Better Maryland. More

MPCA Corner

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Thank You

The Maryland Planning Commissioners Association warmly thanks everyone who attended and contributed to its 35th annual conference in Gaithersburg on October 25 and 26, with a special appreciation for the hard work of the City of Gaithersburg, Mayor Jud Ashman, and the City’s exceptional staff! The MPCA has never felt so welcomed. The tour of new urbanist neighborhoods was fantastic, and Planning Director John Schlicting inspired attendees with his welcome during Thursday night’s reception. One of Gaithersburg’s own, Planning Commissioner Danny Winborne, was elected MPCA President. Well deserved it was, as Danny tirelessly contributes to his community, his alma mater (Morgan State), and to the MPCA. Congratulations Danny and to the other MPCA Officers: Bill Butts (Mt. Airy) Vice President; Roxanne Hemphill (Mt. Airy) Secretary; and Doug Wright (Hagerstown) Treasurer. More

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