Thursday, September 1, 2011

Smart-Growth, ICLEI, Un Agenda 21, Sustainability - #3214 - Gov. of Maryland Rejects the Will of Elected Bodies to Try to Impose Smart-Growth Plan by Fiat - Virginia Right (2) O'Malley, Maryland Counties Begin Battle Over Development Plan - Washington Post

The blogger Aaron C. Davis at the Washington Post is surprisingly honest in his analysis of a new struggle between MD Governor Martin O’Malley and counties over an attempt to force a state-wide land use plan with Agenda 21 overtones. Note who goes to defy elected officials and prior precedent first: Hint: It’s not Richard Rothschild! Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and county officials who oppose his plan to curb suburban sprawl fired opening shots Friday in a battle to set a statewide land-use plan that could dramatically affect whether local communities would be eligible to receive state funds for everything from school construction to new roads. O’Malley is hoping to succeed with a smart-growth plan where Democratic governors before him have failed over two decades. The state’s large and powerful counties have repeatedly killed or weakened such efforts in the past to maintain local control over development decisions. “Smart-growth” is a euphemism for Agenda 21 according to Henry Lamb and Tom DeWeese. But note that the MD counties have been able to protect local control of land-use planning. But now Governor O’Malley went to an old statute that gives him power to enact a state-wide plan: The governor, however, is invoking a 37-year-old law granting the executive branch power to develop a plan without a new vote by the General Assembly. He said it’s the only way for Maryland, which is already the fifth most densely populated state in the country, to pass along a similarly beautiful landscape to future generations. The 1974 state law apparently uses state taxpayers’ monies in an effort to induce the local governments to toe the state line on development: The land-use plan, dubbed Plan Maryland, “is not a straight-jacket for counties,” O’Malley said. “This is not a wall that prohibits counties from making stupid land-use decisions. They’re still free to do that, but we’re not going to subsidize it any more.”  Read more........

O'Malley, Maryland Counties Begin Battle Over Development Plan - Washington Post - Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and county officials who oppose his plan to curb suburban sprawl fired opening shots Friday in a battle to set a statewide land-use plan that could dramatically affect whether local communities would be eligible to receive state funds for everything from school construction to new roads.  O’Malley is hoping to succeed with a smart-growth plan where Democratic governors before him have failed over two decades. The state’s large and powerful counties have repeatedly killed or weakened such efforts in the past to maintain local control over development decisions.  The governor, however, is invoking a 37-year-old law granting the executive branch power to develop a plan without a new vote by the General Assembly. He said it’s the only way for Maryland, which is already the fifth most densely populated state in the country, to pass along a similarly beautiful landscape to future generations.  The plan seeks to maintain as agricultural or forest land more than 400,000 acres that Maryland planners project would otherwise be developed over the next 20 years. To do so, it would use a carrot-and-stick approach, effectively rewarding local governments that abide by state plans to maintain open space, and punishing those who do not create more dense housing and development around existing cities.  O’Malley used an example of homes built on 2-acre plots with septic systems as bad example of sprawl, compared to homes built within a city on half-acre plots and sewer hookups........Del. Susan Krebs (R-Carroll) said the governor was moving too fast. She said the plan doesn’t contemplate what might happen to farmers whose land is designated outside state approved areas for development. Krebs said farmers depend on the developable value of their land to secure loans.  Read more.......

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