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A Better Maryland Enters a New Year

The Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) is excited to continue our progress made in 2017 as we move A Better Maryland into its next phase pf outreach. The quality and depth of ideas from local staff, officials, and residents has been tremendous. Planning is demonstrating Governor Hogan’s commitment to serving all Marylanders by visiting all 23 counties and Baltimore City because the best way to learn about Maryland’s communities is to visit in person and meet directly with local stakeholders.

The listening sessions are designed to be informal, fun, and engaging. John Fetchero, an Allegany County resident who participated in the Cumberland public session on December 18, described it as “a workshop, by far the most productive in terms of brainstorming, that I have been a part of, bar none.” The words “workshop” and “brainstorming” paint a clear picture of these sessions. Planning is visiting communities throughout the state free of preconceived notions about what A Better Maryland should be or how it can best support local planning efforts. We are working with our stakeholders to develop creative ideas together as a team.

Planning has already conducted listening sessions in eight counties and the rest of the schedule is filling up! Please visit the project website event page for more details on meeting times and locations. The sessions are not restricted to county residents. Individuals living in towns, cities, and neighboring counties are also encouraged to attend.  Again, please look at the website for more information about each of our upcoming listening sessions including:

Howard County: Tuesday, January 23
Kent County: Tuesday, January 30
Queen Anne’s County: Tuesday, February 13
Cecil County: Tuesday, February 27
Harford County: Wednesday, February 28
Carroll County: Thursday, March 1
Dorchester County: Tuesday, March 6
Calvert County: Tuesday, March 27

Marylanders can also share their thoughts about A Better Maryland online at We have a brief survey with questions including:

  • In one word, what is your community’s greatest strength?
  • Rank the following in terms of importance to the quality of life in your community (housing, transportation, open space, …)
  • Rank the issues that should be addressed by a state development plan (environment, land use and growth, education, …)

As a means of maintaining a two-way dialogue, the website contains summary notes for each listening session, organized by county, on the input page. Check them out to see what others are saying. Planning posts these notes as they are completed, and they will form the foundation with which our department, in collaboration with local stakeholders, other state government agencies, and statewide organizations, crafts A Better Maryland.

Planning continues to schedule and plan more listening sessions throughout the state, and will complete all 24 meetings by the end of March. Please visit the website for more information about future meetings and to take the survey. Now is the time to make your voice heard. If you have any questions about A Better Maryland, or to find out when Planning is visiting your community, please contact Chuck Boyd, Director of Planning Coordination, ( 410-767-1401.

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