Is it a "war on rural Maryland" or promoting smart growth?
Joined by former governors Harry Hughes and Parris Glendening, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D-Md.) announced Monday that he'd signed an executive order on a long-range growth plan for the state.
The plan would aim to avoid building too much on declining acres of woodlands and wetlands by steering development toward areas that already have the needed infrastructure in place, reported The Associated Press.
But the move angered opponents who said the plan should have gone through the General Assembly.
State Sen. E.J. Pipkin (R-Cecil), an outspoken opponent, called it part of a "war on rural Maryland," the AP reported. “What the governor did is the height of arrogance,” Pipkin said, according to a Washington Post story. “We have never seen this in the state of Maryland. We have never had an executive order of this significance without a review by the General Assembly.... It’s all part of his national agenda to boost his personal [profile].”
O'Malley, upset with the allegation that the plan was an attack on rural areas, said the state can't wait any longer to institute a plan because it's become the fifth most densely populated state, and is expected to keep growing.
"The consequences, if you will, will primarily be budget consequences -- as we make our capital allocations -- and as each department makes its decisions based on what promotes smart growth versus what promotes sprawl and unsustainable land consumption," O'Malley said.
The Washington Post says the plan could affect every aspect of growth in the state, "from where schools are placed to which roads are built to whether rural landowners are permitted to develop their property."
"Land use planning is not for the faint of heart," said Glendening, according to a piece in the Baltimore Sun.
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