It’s resulted from more than 85 meetings with citizens across the state.
Annapolis, Md (KM) A new state development plan called “A Better Maryland” has been released. State Planning Secretary Rob McCord says the new plan resulted from an executive order issued by Governor Larry Hogan in 2017.
He says state planners gathered citizen comment across Maryland over a nearly two-year period to craft the final document. “The Department of Planning took a bottom up approach, and we went out to every jurisdiction and did a lot of listening. We did 85 or more meeting in every jurisdiction across the state to find what people wanted to see in a state development plan,” he said.
McCord said most citizens told planners that one of their top issues was protecting the environment. “We developed a set of strategies under a bunch of different topics, like sustaining the environment in the future and set up some strategies for trying to do that,” he said. “We are trying to do the same thing for preserving land, and becoming more resilient to climate change.”
Another concern was economic growth and development in existing communities. “They’re strategies to address that,” says McCord. “We’re putting out a set of strategies for workforce development needs for the next century. So those strategies will help us to organize other state agencies to bring their resources to bear to help local governments achieve those things.”
Planning is normally a local government function, and McCord says that will not change with this “Better Maryland” plan. “We’re not telling local governments how to do it. But we’re helping them understand what can be done and, hopefully, considering the best way to do it,” he says.
The “Better Maryland” plan can be found online at abetter.maryland.gov. “Online also includes a set of digital resources. We’re making other resources available on the online version of the plan so that you can see areas all across the state, you can see easement areas and you can see things that are happening all across the state. Hopefully, the digital resource center will continue to build that out,” says McCord. “That will be a prime resource for local governments.”
By Kevin McManus