The Maryland Departments of Commerce and Planning Collaborate on Compatible Use

Planning Assistance in Action

By Sarah Lipkin-Sularz, Southern Maryland Regional Planner 

The State of Maryland, influenced by its proximity to the nation’s capital, has a long military history and is fortunate to host 20 military facilities, including 12 major installations. These bases support the overall operations of the nation’s military and the Department of Defense (DoD).

In a 2016 study, 15 installations in Maryland supported 374,522 jobs, $57.4 billion in output, and $22.1 billion in employee compensation in Maryland.[1] The installations included in this study are: Aberdeen Proving Ground, Joint Base Andrews, NAS Patuxent River, Fort Meade, Fort Detrick, NSA Bethesda, NSA Annapolis, NSF Indian Head, Adelphi Laboratory Center, Blossom Point Research Facility, NSWC Carderock, Coast Guard Yard, Army Corps of Engineers – Baltimore District, National Maritime Intelligence Center, and the Maryland National Guard.  

Screenshot of map showing Maryland Military Installations from the SJRIS

In 2019, the Maryland Department of Commerce (Commerce), supported by a DoD Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) grant and in partnership with the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning), completed the Maryland Statewide Joint Land Use Study Response Implementation Strategy (SJRIS), which focused on enhanced collaboration and communication between Maryland’s military installations and their surrounding communities. The study provided Maryland a strategic approach, in coordination with local governments, to address compatibility issues at a state level. 

Aided by additional funding from OEA, Commerce and Planning are embarking upon implementation of the study’s recommendations, completing a Renewable Energy Siting Study and developing a Compatible Use Website and Technical Assistance Handbook. Commerce is leading the Renewable Energy Siting Study, while Planning is overseeing the development of the website and handbook.

In this effort, Planning will be hiring a new Compatible Use Community Planning Liaison to guide the implementation of the SJRIS recommendations and soliciting a vendor to complete the website and handbook. This effort is vital because the missions of Maryland installations may extend past their borders. Conversely, the land use decisions of communities may impact the mission readiness of adjacent bases.  

Working alongside state, federal, and local partners, the program will include activities to improve or establish procedures to support communication and coordination between communities, the military, and the state for compatible land use, develop guidance and model local legislation to improve compatible land use, and develop mapping tools to assist jurisdictions desiring to limit or prevent development that may encroach on military installation influence areas.

The Renewable Energy Siting project will provide renewable energy developers with a map that will detail where a renewable energy project, depending on its parameters (e.g., solar/wind, turbine height, etc.), would be compatible, incompatible, or potentially incompatible (requiring further engagement with the DoD) with existing military missions in Maryland.  

The Compatible Use Community Planning Liaison will develop an outreach and communications plan to engage military representatives, local leaders, and other stakeholders in the planning process and form a workgroup for implementing the SJRIS recommendations and a policy committee for exploring and developing model local legislation to improve compatible use in Maryland.

The work of these groups will support the development of the website and handbook and ultimately ensure the long-term sustainability and operability of military operations throughout the State. Sustainability of compatible military operations will yield significant benefits to neighboring jurisdictions as well. 

The website and handbook will be designed for two audiences: Maryland military installation leadership and local communities and jurisdictions. The primary purpose of the project is to provide the military and Maryland jurisdictions with an overview of, and ready to use, resources guidance, and best practices that promote compatible use in their communities and regions.

Maryland’s military installations benefit the economies of Maryland jurisdictions, regions, and the state. The website and handbook will raise awareness of such benefits. The operations of these installations also impact and are impacted by the land use and decision making of their surrounding communities. The resources developed as part of this project will demonstrate how the missions of installations and communities can be compatible and mutually beneficial.    

This is not Planning’s first foray into the world of compatible use. Planning staff participates as a statutory member in the Maryland Military Installation Council (MMIC). MMIC identifies the public infrastructure, potential impact on local communities, and support needed for State military installation development and expansion. In July 2019, the MMIC initiated a Workforce Development Committee to enhance the capabilities and availability of the state’s defense industry workforce to better meet the current and growing needs of the mission partners on Maryland military installations.

This includes attracting and retaining a qualified workforce; connecting qualified Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) based education programs, internship seekers, and those bases with job vacancies; facilitating security clearances for a contracted workforce; and supporting military spousal employment. MMIC reviews State policies to support military installations and maximize economic benefits to local communities. 

Earlier this month, Commerce posted an RFP for the Maryland Renewable Energy Siting study on the eMaryland Marketplace Advantage (eMMA), and it is currently open for bids. Planning will be posting a Community Compatible Use Website and Handbook RFP on eMMA, and the job advertisement for the Compatible Use Community Planning Liaison, very soon as well!   

For more information about the Compatible Use Website and Technical Assistance Handbook contact Sarah Lipkin-Sularz, Southern Maryland Regional Planner at, or to learn more about the Renewable Energy Siting Study, contact Jennifer Chiasson, Grants Program Manager, Department of Commerce at

[1] Maryland Department of Commerce, FY 2016 Economic Impact Analysis of Maryland’s Military Installations 

2 thoughts on “The Maryland Departments of Commerce and Planning Collaborate on Compatible Use

  1. Pingback: Matrix Design Group To Complete Renewable Energy Siting Study | Maryland Planning Blog

  2. Pingback: Coming Soon! New Tools and Resources for Communities to Assess Compatible Use Issues and Renewable Energy Siting in Maryland | Maryland Planning Blog

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