Interview with Vicky Rinkerman: Port Deposit, MD Town Administrator

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Local Spotlight

Port Deposit, situated along the banks of the Susquehanna River in Cecil County Maryland, is a historic town of approximately 650 residents. From humble beginnings as a collection point for lumber floating downriver, it took off in the mid-nineteenth century as a crucial junction point for additional goods including grain and coal. This was due to its position as the furthest point downstream on the Susquehanna and the furthest navigable point upstream in the Chesapeake Bay. At this same time, Port Deposit earned fame for the excellent granite deposits just to its north, and multiple factories and mills dotted downtown and the waterfront. With so much commerce, the Port Deposit financial industry gained prominence, and for a while the town was the only place to conduct banking between Baltimore and Wilmington, Delaware. The coming of railroads expanded the market for Port Deposit’s goods throughout the country. More

InfoPortal: A One-stop Online Shop for State Assistance Programs

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Resources and Tools

As the cliché goes, information is power. Few would argue this, but one could claim that information has a worthy competitor: time. Magical digital devices in our pockets can deliver the answer to mundane trivia when debating with friends, or display the weather radar when deciding if we should stay at the park. One should never underestimate the impact of required information delivered rapidly. But what about when information is more complicated than the American League Batting Champion in 1966? The answer is the Orioles’ own Frank Robinson by the way, hitting .316. It was a pitchers’ era. What if the sources of information are wide-ranging, or if you don’t even know exactly what you are looking for, but you know what the answer can deliver? This may seem esoteric, but it is a challenge facing many individuals or organizations seeking state assistance online. They know what they want in the end, but they don’t know what steps to take to get there, or even what resources can make those steps lighter. The Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) developed InfoPortal to help. More

The Sustainable Growth Commission Challenges Maryland College Students to Plan for a Sustainable Future

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The Gold Street Park: Druid Heights-Baltimore Plan integrates a vision for revitalizing a vacant lot in Baltimore’s Druid Heights Neighborhood. The planning process kicked-off with community outreach and stakeholder design meetings in the fall of 2015. The final design builds upon an existing mural and includes attractive landscaping, natural play area for kids, stage for community events, and a meditation area. It also proposes sustainably sourced and environmentally advantageous building materials, with flora benefiting the neighborhood and enhancing local water quality. More

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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Resources and Tools

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

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