Reason 1: To encourage sustainable development and protect quality of life

map of land use/land cover
(Click on the map for larger view)

Total acreage of developed land in Maryland nearly doubled in the past three decades, resulting in large losses of farms and forests. It took three centuries to develop the first 650,000 acres of land in Maryland and a mere 30 years to develop the next 650,000. In 1973 6,900 square feet of land were needed to support each person (for homes, jobs, schools, etc.). This increased to 11,500 square feet by 2007, a 50 percent increase. Marylanders live in large homes on larger lots, shop in larger stores, and park in larger parking lots than ever before, but the consequence is more time spent getting to those places, more public dollars needed to support that dispersion, more loss of natural resources, more pollution into the bay and fewer affordable housing options.

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