Planning Education: Not Just for Staff

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The results of planning decisions (new roads, residential development) are prevalent and conspicuous, but the decisions themselves, let alone the rationale behind those decisions, often go unnoticed. Planning decisions impact a community’s appearance, traffic, housing stock, economic development, environmental conditions, and multitudes more. Because of this, planning must be a highly public and fully vetted process, with community stakeholders, planning staff, elected officials, and planning commissioners all playing a vital role. More

Transfer of Development Rights – New Ways of Looking at Preservation and Investment

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Many planners are familiar with Transfer of Development Rights (TDRs) programs as a tool used to preserve open space by lifting development rights from a property and using those rights in another area to develop at a higher density. Less known is the use of TDRs by developers for other purposes, such as development design flexibility or environmental mitigation , and the existence of county-municipal TDR programs. More

The Maryland Department of Planning’s Geospatial and Data Analysis Unit Communicates Spatially

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Sometimes a concept or trend just needs to be expressed visually. In response to this, the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) is fluent in the language of spatial analysis and representation. The goal of planning is to nurture and inform, and to play a vital partnership role alongside the diverse and numerous interests, stakeholders, and dynamics that influence our ever-changing society and communities. To maintain the highest-level of quality in our responses to the planning needs of Maryland, Planning employs a talented group of spatial technology professionals who share a mission to provide the department, our various public and private partners, and our citizens with data, analysis, and resources that are accurate and precise. This team of geospatial experts, with an extensive background in geospatial analysis, cartography, data modeling and management, and application development comprises Planning’s Geospatial and Data Analysis Unit (GDA). More

The Maryland Department of Planning Assists the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene with the Environmental Public Health Tracking Tool

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Planning is a highly interdisciplinary activity for any local or state government, incorporating land use, environmental protection, transportation, housing, economic development, and much more. An often-overlooked responsibility is advancing public health. Preserving green space, developing parks and other recreational facilities, connecting walkable and bikeable transportation networks, and ensuring the quality of Maryland’s air and water are just a few of the ways in which planners can promote healthy and vibrant communities.  Considered from another perspective, this might be planning’s most significant role. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) recently developed the Environmental Public Health Tracking Tool (MDEPHT) to promote the health of Maryland citizens and jurisdictions as they consider the future of their communities. The Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) is leveraging the extensive work completed by DHMH to advocate that the MDEPHT be used as an information resource for local governments during their planning efforts. More

Map-Based Medusa Brings Maryland’s Historic Resources to your Devices

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Have you ever wondered what historical treasures your neighborhood or local village can boast? Would you like to know a little more about that site memorialized on the roadside plaque you drive by every day on your way to work? To help you answer those questions, the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) has combined cutting edge mapping technology with some of Maryland’s oldest cultural resources in its new mapping tool named Medusa. More

Planning Connects the Census to Communities

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The 2020 Census is only three short years away, but the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) and the United States Census Bureau (Census Bureau) are already hard at work guaranteeing the accuracy of Maryland’s counts. One of the ways we are doing this is through the Local Update of Census Addresses Operation, otherwise known as LUCA. The Census Bureau conducted its first LUCA in preparation for the 2000 Census and has been fine tuning the process for each successive count. It is the only opportunity for tribal, state, and local governments to review and comment on the Census Bureau’s residential address list prior to the 2020 Census. A complete and accurate address list will allow the Census Bureau to reach every living quarters in the state. More

Planning Simplifies Annual Reporting; Encourages Localities to Embrace the Opportunity

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For the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) and jurisdictions around the state, spring and early summer are Local Government Annual Reporting season. While that might not sound like something to get excited about, it is a vital time of year for reviewing development progress, initiating conversations about the direction of Maryland’s communities, and reconnecting state and local planning officials.

The Land Use Article of the Maryland State Code requires that Planning report on growth-related changes and permitting activity submitted annually by each jurisdiction with planning and zoning authority. More

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