Why Plan Now?
Effective and efficient management of land use was a vision in the 1930s when Maryland created the first State planning commission in the country. It swelled into a pressing need by the 1970s, when the State legislature created the authority to develop a statewide development plan. And it has reached a critical point now that the pace of sprawl has continued its march despite curative efforts in recent decades.
Our strategies must establish where and how the State will develop, what resources it must protect, and the proactive role that the State and local governments and the private sector must take during the 21st century to make it possible. A commitment to fulfill the intent of the legislature 40 years ago to develop a statewide plan for growth, PlanMaryland, will be a blueprint for such a strategy.
Maryland created a framework a decade ago to steer development toward priority funding areas to try to ensure that new construction occurred near existing services and infrastructure. Scattered development far beyond areas with existing infrastructure wasn't abated, however, partly due to an unusually strong housing market. The programs put in place also proved insufficient to tame the sweep of development.