Message from Governor Larry Hogan

GovLarryHogan.jpgMaryland’s abundant environmental assets and vibrant economy form the core of what makes our state one of the best places to live, work, and play. They serve as the foundation for an even more promising and prosperous future. The Maryland Department of Planning’s new state development plan, A Better Maryland, charts a clear strategic path to preserve Maryland’s natural resources while encouraging responsible growth in our existing communities, and providing for future growth and opportunity. It does this with the understanding that the best planning happens locally, which is far more effective than top-down directives. A Better Maryland presents a broad vision that seeks to effectively unite state agencies in their work, addresses some of our most pressing challenges, and gives community and local leaders the tools to change things for the better.

Message from Planning Secretary Rob McCord

SecRobertMcCord.jpgPlanning is pleased to present the new state development plan, A Better Maryland. The document is the culmination of close to two years of outreach, engagement, partnerships, and collaboration. Development of the plan involved extensive coordination, including more than 90 meetings with local government officials, planning and economic development staff and the public, an online survey, as well as consultation with the Smart Growth Subcabinet and Coordinating Committee; Sustainable Growth Commission; Maryland Association of Counties; Maryland Municipal League; American Planning Association-Maryland Chapter; the Maryland Planning Commissioners Association; and planning directors from around the state. Planning also met with other partners and stakeholders, including the University of Maryland Center for Smart Growth, the Chesapeake Conservancy, and the Maryland Farm Bureau.

Participants expressed a desire for greater collaboration, coordination and communication between state and local agencies as well as cooperation among state agencies; enhanced delivery of state programs and services; improved resources to help build community capacity while maintaining and strengthening local decision-making; and respect for local and regional distinctions. Marylanders reiterated that local leaders are well situated to do the important work of planning for their own communities.

Our obligation to the environment transcends generations and boundaries. Our efforts to provide the foundations for economic opportunity will continue as partners in helping communities plan for larger societal trends, such as technological advancements and the changing world of labor and investment. Planning recognizes the rich diversity in our state. We heard from one corner to the other a disdain and distrust for a one-size-fits-all approach to development and planning. A Better Maryland embraces the opportunity to focus on education, technical assistance, and resource delivery to help communities realize their own vision of their future.

In addition to the document itself, Planning constructed a dynamic webpage (abetter.maryland.gov) that connects communities, partners, and stakeholders with the tools and resources they need to support locally directed growth, conservation, development, and inter-agency coordination. This digital resource center, which will evolve in concert with implementation, consolidates programs across the state and enhances data accessibility, helping jurisdictions make more informed decisions.

I would like to acknowledge the assistance from the Governor’s Office of the Special Secretary of Smart Growth, Wendi Peters, who accompanied Planning throughout the outreach process, and provided guidance and assistance in the development of the plan. Responding to Governor Hogan’s bold vision of expanding employment opportunities for every Marylander while enhancing and preserving the state’s environment and natural resources, and equipped with the enthusiasm and partnerships developed during the process, Planning is excited to implement the new plan, so that together we can create A Better Maryland.