Rural officials meet, try to stop Plan Maryland
A group of state, county and local politicians from Maryland’s rural areas plan to meet Thursday in Annapolis to strategize about how to stop Gov. Martin O’Malley from implementing Plan Maryland, a statewide development policy that is expected to become policy later this fall.
State Sen. E.J. Pipkin, who represents Caroline, Cecil, Kent and Queen Anne’s counties, is organizing the meeting.
“The governor calls Plan Maryland smart growth. But what it amounts to is no growth in the rural portions of the state,” he said in a statement.
Pipkin introduced legislation earlier this month during the special session on redistricting that would require General Assembly approval of Plan Maryland, but did not get a hearing scheduled. Pipkin plans to reintroduce the bill in January during the full legislative session.
Local officials from many of the state’s rural counties have derided the plan as a way for the state to take away their local zoning authority, which state officials say is false.
State planners have worked on Plan Maryland, which state officials say will save $1.5 billion per year in infrastructure costs, for the past three years and have rolled it out in a series of meetings with local officials across the state. Plan Maryland aims to identify growth areas where development can be fast-tracked. Local governments who fail to adhere to the guidelines would lose crucial funding for schools and roads.