Maryland Hosts 48th Annual Archeology Field Session

Planning Assistance in Action

Drone image of the 2019 Archeological Field Session Site (Photo Credit: Ryan Craun of M-NCPPC)

Have you ever dreamed what it might be like to join in on an archeological dig? The idea evokes images of Indiana Jones, Egyptian treasure, large rolling boulders and…snakes, right? But one doesn’t have to travel very far to have an authentic brush (pun intended) with an active dig and the chance to help unearth some astonishing artifacts. Hopefully, sans snakes. Continue reading

Regional Planner Recognized for her Tireless Work

Planning Assistance in Action

Back in November of 2018, Planning wrote a newsletter article about the department’s work on the WalkWicomcio project. Tracey Gordy, one of the department’s Regional Planners for the Lower Eastern Shore, spearheaded the department’s role in that effort, and her dedication has been noticed! As part of Wicomico County’s recognition of National Public Health Week (April 1-7), the County Health Department awarded Tracey the 2019 Outstanding Public Health Leader Award. Tracey received her award at a Salisbury University ceremony on April 3. Continue reading

Public Comment Period Now Open for Maryland’s Draft Phase III WIP

Planning Assistance in Action

Most people living in the Mid-Atlantic region know the Chesapeake Bay as the source of Maryland Blue crabs, oysters and countless opportunities for recreation. However, most people are probably not aware that with a watershed covering more than 64,000 square miles, fed by more than 150 rivers and streams and spanning parts of six states and Washington D.C., the Bay is the largest estuary in North America and one of the most productive bodies of water in the world Continue reading

Challenge Winners Shine at the Sustainable Growth Commission

Planning Assistance in Action

Some of the most creative approaches to sustainability are not originating in local planning departments, state offices, or even the nonprofit world, but from Maryland’s students. On Monday, March 25, the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission (Commission) celebrated the excellent work of four groups of students in the award ceremony for the 2019 Sustainable Growth Challenge.

“The work of the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission is fulfilling, vital, and impactful,” said Commission Chair Susan Summers. “I take my role as its Chair very seriously, but I have the most fun each year when college students from around the state present their award winning projects to the Commission. You can tell they take their work and studies very seriously as well. The day inspires greater enthusiasm in our effort as an advisory body, and encourages us to maintain and strengthen our engagement with the next generation of Maryland’s leaders in sustainability.” Continue reading

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

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. Continue reading

Bel Air Armory: A Main Street Asset

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. Continue reading

WalkWicomico Puts Planning on its Feet

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. Continue reading