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MD Department of Planning Offers Listening Sessions in Cecil County for 'A Better Maryland'

Post Date:02/28/2018 3:50 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 28, 2018

ELKTON, MD. -- Cecil County Executive Alan McCarthy, County Council members, administration and department staff, as well as representatives from local municipalities and residents were invited by the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) to attend input sessions yesterday at the Cecil County Administration Building as part of an initiative to reinforce a statewide plan to guide growth and development across Maryland.

The agency is looking to obtain feedback from each jurisdiction on local priorities and needs. "This truly is a listening session," explained Special Secretary of Smart Growth, Wendi Peter. "We're here to listen. We want to hear what concerns are; what challenges are; what we at the State level can do from a State development plan perspective to aid our local jurisdictions."

The initiative derives from Executive Order 01.01.2017.18 signed by Governor Hogan in which MDP has been asked to prepare a state development plan which enriches the lives of Marylanders and uses smart growth principles, all the while utilizing responsible growth methods which also protect Maryland's resources.

Objectives for A Better Maryland initiative revolve around supporting existing communities, creating quality locations, coordinating State investments, and preserving natural resources, as well as cultural and historical conservation.

Maryland Director of Planning Coordination, Chuck Boyd reiterated the purpose of A Better Maryland by stating, "We're not coming out with a set agenda…we're really here to hear from you about what you'd like to have in a new state development plan."

During the afternoon input session, council members discussed the importance of the MDP reviewing the County's comprehensive plan, as well as the plans of the individual towns, the need to resolve the MARC Train connection issues between Perryville and Newark, the impact of tolls on DE Route 301, the effects of Senate Bill 236 regarding tier maps, the importance of protecting property rights in the County and the desire for the County to retain control of their own comprehensive plan.

Local jurisdictions stressed the importance of sidewalk projects and fortifying technical assistance for infrastructure which supports the positive economic growth currently going on in the County. The need to define what is classified as a state project versus local jurisdiction projects, and the desire for thorough traffic studies and solutions, were also mentioned as local priorities.

Council President Joyce Bowlsbey encouraged the MDP to keep topics such as solar farms, broadband technologies, and chicken farm zoning on their radar in terms of the new planning initiative and how it will apply to the needs of Cecil County.

"Cecil County is appreciative of the State's inclusive approach in the development of A Better Maryland," commented Eric Sennstrom, Director of Land Use and Development Services (LUDS). "It is very refreshing for the Maryland Department of Planning to be listening to the local jurisdictions and to be interested in identifying local priorities. We are hopeful that this participatory mindset will lead to a vastly improved state development plan."

Listening sessions for A Better Maryland began in the fall of 2017 and are scheduled through mid-April, with stops in all of Maryland's 23 counties and Baltimore City. A Better Maryland plan is expected to be completed by July 1, 2019. To learn more about the plan, visit the Maryland Department of Planning's website at http://abetter.maryland.gov/ or on the LUDS page at http://www.ccgov.org/government/land-use-development-services.

If you were unable to attend the sessions for Cecil County, and would like to listen to yesterday's audio recordings, visit: http://www.ccgov.org/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/4112/20.

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For more information, contact:
Jennifer Lyall
Public Information Officer
410-996-8454
jlyall@ccgov.org

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