Planning in Progress
The Maryland Departments of Planning (Planning) and Housing and Community Development (DHCD) are crafting useful tools and guidance to help jurisdictions meet the requirements of HB 1045, which goes into effect on June 1 of this year. We first introduced you to our work on HB 1045 in the October 9, 2019 edition of Planning Practice Monthly. As a reminder, all new comprehensive plans written after June 1 must include a Housing Element that addresses the need for Low Income (below 60% Area Median Income) and Workforce (60% – 120% Area Median Income) housing.
In late 2019 and early 2020, Planning and multiple DHCD divisions met to discuss current affordable housing resources, data, programs, and partners. DHCD’s Publications and Reports page includes a lot of useful information for someone interested in housing efforts throughout Maryland. Also, in February Planning convened a stakeholder workgroup to assist with the compiling of public and private resources, best practices, and insight on the housing planning process. This group included representatives from affordable housing organizations, the building and development industries, local community development organizations, housing finance companies, and the Maryland Association of Counties and the Maryland Municipal League. The workgroup will meet periodically over the next few months to provide feedback during guidance development. In the spring, Planning will also establish focus groups of local planners to solicit additional insight.
Planning has a long history of creating Models and Guidelines (M&G) to assist jurisdictions with their needs, particularly in response to new legislative requirements. For example, following HB 1141, passed during the 2006 session, Planning developed M&Gs for the newly required Municipal Growth and Water Resources Elements. The most recent M&G is Placing Jobs, a web based tool incorporating a variety of economic development resources for local planners. Other recent online planning resources include the Transit Station Area Profile Tool and the Transportation Element Checklist. The creation of similar resources and guidance in response to HB 1045 builds upon this legacy. Since the passing of the legislation, many jurisdictions have contacted Planning with questions and concerns about compliance. Planning believes that state guidance can help Maryland’s communities meet the requirements of state law, but also best address their own local housing objectives.
As part of a Housing Element M&G, Planning will develop online housing data resources, similar in presentation and structure to the Predicted Low Response Area dashboard developed for Census 2020, as well as a description of HB 1045 and its requirements, the rationale behind housing planning, the basic components and information that a housing element should include to meet HB 1045, best practices and examples of local housing planning, and a comprehensive inventory of existing resources at the federal, state, regional, local, and organizational levels that jurisdictions can use to meet their planning and implementation needs.
Stay tuned for further updates. To learn more or get involved, please contact Joe Griffiths, Local Assistance and Training Manager for the Maryland Department of Planning, at firstname.lastname@example.org.