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Wicomico County Listening Sessions, November 29, 2017

What We Heard in Response

Regionalism  ♦ Concerns Over Previous Mandates ♦ Economic Development ♦ Housing  ♦ Infrastructure  ♦ Engaging the Public and Volunteerism ♦ Environment  ♦ Community  ♦ Funding ♦ Neighboring Jurisdictions ♦ Communication ♦ State Agencies ♦ Technical Assistance ♦ 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.


Salisbury has already bought into the concept of State goals and plan compatibility with local jurisdictions.

The County and municipalities plans are consistent and adhere to State goals.

A Better Maryland should help jurisdictions meet their goals.

A Better Maryland should determine what outreach other State agencies are conducting and how they are conducting the outreach, including a regional perspective and in some cases out of State perspective.

Use the MPO’s as model for regional cooperation and sharing of common issues.

Regional planners are a great asset to local jurisdictions.

Rails to trails program has worked well, as has refurbishing old rail stations.

Local government is cited as one of the top contributors to positive change.

In this area, the Delmarva connection/region is very important

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Concerns Over Previous Mandates

Provide feedback loops as plan is developed, keep people informed of progress.

There needs to be a paradigm shift from Planning telling locals what to do to assisting local jurisdictions in meeting their goals.

Make sure A Better Maryland has a harmonious impact on jurisdiction versus a prescriptive impact.

Wicomico County is doing what it is supposed to be doing. Seven of eight municipalities have already updated/adopted comprehensive plans, completing planning that was required and encouraged.

State agencies should have to follow the requirements/recommendations coming out of A Better Maryland.

Sometimes local and state objectives are at odds.

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Economic Development

A Better Maryland should include economic staff as well as planners.

Economic development is critical.

There needs to be greater flexibility in grant funding for local jurisdictions.

The number one concern and challenge is providing jobs and employment.

A good economy and jobs are a major contributor to the quality of life.

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In many of the smaller municipalities the housing is not being well maintained. It is difficult for smaller municipalities to assure that housing is kept up.

Home ownership needs to be strengthened with programs like revolving loan funds, street repair, and façade improvements.

More outreach about available resources needed.

Don’t want cookie cutter development. Need to redevelop older communities.

A lot of younger people are not interested in home ownership.

Financial incentives or microloans for housing improvements.

Conflict between those who can’t afford to remediate blight and those who want it removed.

Desire to make housing less income-distinct. Affordable housing should not be visually obvious.

Inclusive zoning is not likely in this area due to low growth demand.

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There needs to be better funding and solutions to address storm water management, especially in older communities that pre-date regulations.

How do we make existing communities better? How do we retrofit and bring them up to higher standards? Need State policy on existing communities.

Need to provide assistance to older communities.

Hebron is having trouble with stormwater and drainage issues, but cannot afford to address them

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Engaging the Public and Volunteerism

We need to develop ways to retain our younger folks in the community.

Need more people to volunteer, people who are passionate about their community and neighborhoods.

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The number one asset is the environment – diversity of fishing, hunting, wildlife.

Clean water, clean air, open space all contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

State plan should address environment.

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Need to plan for updating existing, but outdated communities (Retrofitting)

How can the Maryland Department of Planning assist with this?

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Funding should be made available to smaller jurisdictions. Perhaps a percent of a grant program could be dedicated to smaller jurisdictions.

Funding of local initiatives should be addressed in A Better Maryland. Need to address unfunded mandates. Collaboration will help stretch resources and define issues.

Grant money can be maximized by allowing jurisdictions to use it flexibly

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Neighboring Jurisdictions

The largest interjurisdictional issues include environment, land preservation, and transportation. Communication needs to be improved to help address issues.

Need to establish common goals and issues.

Air, water, environment, transportation, and agriculture runoff cross jurisdictional boundaries.

911 emergency response crosses jurisdictional lines.

Need to address IT issues, especially internet service to rural areas.

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Maryland Department of Planning should share the work plan for A Better Maryland with jurisdictions as it is completed. This will support local buy in later.

Establishing and maintaining forums for different groups to talk is very important.

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State Agencies

The State needs a plan that all the various State agencies could follow. State agencies often have conflicting goals, better cooperation among the agencies is needed.

How will Planning coordinate A Better Maryland with other State agencies, inter State agency coordination is critical.

State government is one of the top contributors to positive change. All parties need to be involved, local government can’t affect change on its own due to lack of resources. When business steps in there will be a greater impact.

The State plan should address land use and growth issues through smart growth.

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Technical Assistance

Technical assistance on obtaining grants, conducting plans and studies, affordable housing, developing regional solutions to issues, and cooperation among State agencies is needed.

Enhanced technical assistance is needed, there is a general need for planners in smaller jurisdictions that don’t have the resources.

Assistance with more technical parts of comprehensive plans, such as Water Resource Element and the Municipal Growth Element.

Could use assistance navigating major projects like Blackwater.

More assistance with Sustainable Communities designation and management.

Opportunities arising out of Reinvest Maryland 2.0.

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Growth is not nearly the problem it was in 2006.

The Mayor of Salisbury is doing a lot of good work in the community.

Need to maintain the population in the smaller municipalities.

Train Depot restoration project in Hebron is a big boon for the town.

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