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Anne Arundel County Listening Sessions, April 4, 2018

What We Heard in Response

Concerns Over Previous Mandates ♦ Mapping Support and Data ♦ Economic Development ♦ Youth ♦ Housing ♦ Infrastructure  ♦ Training and Education ♦ Transportation  ♦ EnvironmentCommunity ♦ Funding ♦ Neighboring Jurisdictions ♦ State Agencies ♦ Technical Assistance ♦ Planning ♦ General

The comments below represent the statements or points of view of one or more individuals who participated in the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) “A Better Maryland” Development Plan Listening Sessions. These comments do not represent any official position or policy of MDP or any other State agency, nor do they represent any official position or policy of any local jurisdiction or local planning agency.

Concerns Over Previous Mandates

PlanMaryland was sold as a horizontal effort to link jurisdictions with State agencies. However, this did not work, as there was no horizontal connection, rather just State to local jurisdiction mandates. A Better Maryland needs to work on strengthening the State to local connections.

Anne Arundel County has kept most of its development within its Priority Funding Area (PFA).  Would like the Anne Arundel Planning Department to play a larger role in PFA discussions during the legislative session.

We don’t appreciate the State dictating how things are done locally

What will be different the day after A Better Maryland is placed on the Governor’s desk? We are concerned with the answer to this question

The policy for A Better Maryland should be “no policy mandates”

Local governments have to implement state initiatives; therefore, local governments need to have more say and participate in the program development.

Trust is a critical issue and improved state-local cooperation needs to be a focus of the state development plan.

Need more respect for local decision-making

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Mapping Support and Data

Data and information sharing should occur in more frequent intervals, such as monthly

State Data Center is a great idea. Use of dashboards is good; should standardize data collection; should prepare annual reports for local jurisdictions.

State should provide better data and technical assistance

SDAT’s Real Property Search is limited to monthly updates, which are not frequent enough

The State’s annual report and reporting process needs some work

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Economic Development

Maryland should consider one statewide license for CoStar®

Road and other transportation projects have the biggest positive impact on economic development

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Youth

Youth inmigration to the County is going up, particularly in the Mayo area

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Housing

Affordable housing needs to be an important issue considered in the state development plan.

Anne Arundel needs more affordable housing

Annapolis needs more affordable housing. Inclusionary zoning exists in the City, but it is not enough

The State should conduct an affordable housing and homelessness survey for the County

Jurisdictions could use help with addressing vacant, blighted, and foreclosed buildings, particularly developing an effective methodology to quantifying the issues.

The local government has limited ability to influence housing market forces when it comes to housing affordability

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Infrastructure

Planning should be the chief coordinating agency for water and sewer planning, rather than the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). Local jurisdictions use planning and public works departments to coordinate water and sewer, and the State should do the same.

There is a misalignment of infrastructure and land-use planning, and both need to be integrated into A Better Maryland. The State and counties should have goals regarding transportation and land use.

Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances (APFOs)

State should help more with school planning.  The State legislature will influence how state facility master planning should be done.

Be wary of unintended consequences

Best to coordinate information at the State level regarding effectiveness, utilization, and funding mechanisms

State needs a moratorium on solar farms until we figure out the next steps

The State should fully plan for small cell technology

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Training and Education

Planning should create training programs and webinars for local jurisdictions, commissions, council members, etc.

Various training tutorials could be provided as an on-line resource

Smaller, in-person groups are much more effective for providing and exchanging information

Anne Arundel needs technical training assistance for planning projects

Training for newly elected officials is needed

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Transportation

Roads should be rated annually – level of service and condition

Bike/ped

Need bike/ped planning and development assistance

Bike/ped infrastructure will make Maryland more competitive

There exists a misalignment between infrastructure and land use

Land use and transportation planning need to be more closely integrated

State law delegates planning and zoning decision to the local government, but the same is not true for transportation issues

The State and counties should have mode share goals

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Environment

Chesapeake Bay programs are pushing forest conservation, but these efforts are conflicting with other forest conservation efforts in the state.

SHA needs to take better care of street trees as many along Route 2 are now covered with vines and will soon fall into the road.

Trees on Richie Highway are wrapped with ivy.  Who is liable if the ivy is in the State right of way?

We need to protect our urban forests

One of the most effective State programs was the Maryland Tributaries Study and Planning Program, which involved local jurisdictions in education, meetings, networking, and the explanation of need

More local reliance on solar energy and composting is needed

Environment should be the number one concern of the state development plan. Once it is lost, it cannot be regained (reiterated many times)

Maryland should conduct a cost/benefit analysis on the positive effects of environmental investment

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) purchases land, and then hands it over to local jurisdictions, who then do what they want to with it. This should be more tightly controlled and monitored. Why identify the most environmentally significant parcels for purchase, if you are then going to stand by while Rec & Parks destroys them?

Nuisance flooding is a regular concern for Annapolis. The Weather It Together program is a good example of forward thinking and collaboration on flood adaptation

Coastal erosion is a concern.  There needs to be a more coordinated effort rather than individual projects

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Community

The County has many cultural resources that need to be preserved, including many of Native American and African American heritage

There is a lack of transparency in government

We have community development challenges.  There is a need for code enforcement and property maintenance

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Funding

State funding is needed to support local initiatives

Increase the highway user revenue fees to local jurisdictions

The State should fund the River Keepers

The Annapolis flooding adaptation study will lead to expensive recommendations for planning remediation efforts. State funding will be needed

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Neighboring Jurisdictions

The County and Annapolis need to work together in the Parole area.

The Fort Meade area needs a regional approach to roads and transit

The County could use help with neighboring jurisdictions in coordinating traffic issues

A Better Maryland should consider outreach to federal installations, such as Fort Meade and the Naval Academy

A Better Maryland should address environmental planning and zoning compatibility across jurisdictional lines

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State Agencies

Too many State agencies take on the responsibilities of other agencies, which leads to conflict and contradictory information

The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) is not an environmental agency. If they need assistance in complying with environmental regulations they should go to the appropriate agency

MDE is not the agency in charge of growth management, and therefore should only be a reviewing agency. This requires leadership at the State level.  Planning should lead the planning side of water/sewer planning, and MDE should focus on the water quality side.

MDE has newer and newer requirements, but better documentation of the needs is needed

Permitting process is very difficult, with one agency telling you one thing, and another something else

A Better Maryland should coordinate state functions and make it clear what the functional duties are of each state agencies, and avoid duplication

A one stop shop for State level permitting should be considered

Horizontal planning across and among state agencies should be encouraged

The State should complete weather pattern projections far into the future for jurisdictions to access and use

It would be helpful if the State considered technological advances that will significantly impact Maryland communities and help jurisdictions prepare them

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Technical Assistance

Counties need to plan 20-30 years into the future. The State should provide information related to what changes are expected and how they need to be addressed

Anne Arundel could use assistance with collecting and sharing information (white papers) on issues such as APFOs, vacant buildings, foreclosures, state laws, and other issues

Annapolis would like to partner with the State on improving technology

Would like assistance from Planning on small area plans

It would be helpful if the State would facilitate better understanding of what issues will be impacting local government 10-20 years in the future.  What should we be planning for?

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Planning

The County is updating its comprehensive plan and could use help doing smaller local area, neighborhood plans

Local plans have the greatest impact on local government

The general development plan should provide 10 years of stability and be followed

Anne Arundel has a Planning Advisory Board with oversight of all County plans

Generals Highway residents have a tendency toward slow growth

Over the past 20 years, Anne Arundel has focused most of its growth within PFAs

The State should not allow the development of the Crownsville Hospital

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General

State and federal uses in the county impact the quality of life but don’t contribute taxes

A Better Maryland should avoid policy directives and legislation that limits local decision making

The policy of the state development plan should be ‘no policy mandates’

The State should provide jurisdictions with the underlying assumptions and reasons behind legislation and mandates

When the State receives a bi-partisan 7-0 resolution from a local jurisdiction, it should be respected as it represents a lot of work and compromise

Assets

Vast historical and cultural resources

Bay

Rural southern half of the County

Good schools and parks

Secluded and private neighborhoods

Natural environment and its resources

Challenges

Former Crownsville hospital site (reiterated many times). Rezoning could negatively affect the following

South and Severn Rivers

Crownsville Traffic

Open space preservation

Emergency services

Wildlife preservation

People don’t like change and uncertainty

There is a general lack of trust and sense of poor transparency. More involvement should mean better planning

Managing growth

Protection of Severn and South River watershed

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