State development plan unveiled with website

The Hogan administration announced Aug. 7 the filing of a new state development plan, “A Better Maryland.”

In 2017, Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order directing the Maryland Department of Planning to coordinate with local governments and other stakeholders to prepare a revised State Development Plan, according to a Department of Planning press release.

“This new state development plan was developed to coordinate the planning needs of state agencies and local governments while encouraging Maryland to grow responsibly,” Hogan (R) said in the release. “This inclusive bottom-up approach listens to the needs of our communities and puts planning authority in the hands of local government, where it belongs, while balancing economic development and environmental preservation.”

The executive order established objectives for growing responsibly and protecting Maryland’s resources to support existing communities, create quality places, coordinate state investment and preserve natural, cultural, historical and heritage resources.

A Better Maryland, which includes a digital resource center, can be found at The website contains data, tools and information sources intended to be a virtual library of state and local plans and related resources used to plan responsible growth and resource protection.

In addition to working closely with the public, local government, state agencies and other stakeholders, the state Department of Planning closely coordinated with the Smart Growth Subcabinet, Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission, the Maryland Municipal League and the Maryland Association of Counties during the development of A Better Maryland. Planning also coordinated with the Maryland Planning Commissioners Association and local planning directors and staff throughout the process.

“It was only through local feedback and interaction that we collectively created this dynamic new state development plan,” Planning Secretary Rob McCord said in the release. “This approach to planning where we work closely with all of our state and local partners, ensures continued economic growth and helps meet local planning needs.”

More than 85 meetings and listening sessions were held between fall 2017 and early 2019 to gather feedback in every Maryland county and Baltimore City. Several hundred comments were received and documented over the initial 18 months, which included two separate rounds of meetings and online surveys. This critical feedback formed the framework for the final plan.

“This new plan addresses the needs of each region of our state and is focused on increasing coordination between state agencies and local governments,” Wendi Peters, special secretary of smart growth, said in the release. “The plan supports responsible growth and infrastructure planning, revitalization of existing communities, and preservation of our natural and cultural resources.”

The A Better Maryland Vision Statement, which was developed based on the results of the first round of listening sessions and Hogan’s executive order is: “A Better Maryland is a dynamic, evolving plan that provides a framework to support a thriving economy and environmental stewardship. The plan supports collaboration among state and local governments and all other stakeholders, providing resources and tools for the long term economic success of Maryland.”

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