Planning Practice Monthly, July 2021 Edition

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Friday, July 9, 2021

In This Issue

Planning in Progress

Planning Assistance in Action

Resources and Tools

MPCA Corner

Conferences, Webinars, Training, and Funding

Planning in Progress

We will continue to provide updates about these exciting efforts as they develop in upcoming issues.

Bernie Fowler’s Patuxent River “Wade-In” 2021


When Bernie Fowler was a young man in the 1950s, he stood chest-deep in the Patuxent River, netting blue crabs. Looking down, he was able to see his sneaker-clad feet on the river bottom. Since then, much of the watershed of the Patuxent River — the largest Maryland river wholly contained within the state — has been developed. Efforts to improve the water quality of the Patuxent and other Maryland rivers and tributaries are ongoing…but how do we best measure success?

Years after his youthful observation, a by-then Senator Fowler, transformed his informal measure of water clarity into an informative and fun annual assessment of the Patuxent’s water quality. Senator Fowler held the first Patuxent River "Wade-In" in 1988 to assess whether he could still see his feet while wading into the river. This became fondly known as the Sneaker Index. His white sneakers, which he still has and uses for the annual event, disappeared from view in a disappointing 10 inches of water.

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Governor's Smart Growth Subcabinet Will Hold a Virtual Public Forum on Wednesday, July 21, at 2:00 p.m.


The Governor's Smart Growth Subcabinet is holding a virtual public forum for county and municipal elected leaders and planning officials on Wednesday, July 21, 2021, between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. The Smart Growth Subcabinet is committed to working together to improve the delivery of programs and services to local communities. Join us on July 21 as we highlight success stories across Maryland and talk about the resources available to our local governments. The presentation will be followed by the statutory public forum providing an opportunity for elected leaders and planning officials to discuss with the subcabinet local government issues relating to activities that affect smart growth, development, neighborhood conservation and resource management.

To participate in the forum, you will need to register. 

Please click here to register

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State of Maryland Launches Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Website

Rescue Plan

Maryland recently launched a new website with resources about applying for and receiving Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund allocations. The website is being updated regularly as new resources become available.

Resources include:

  • Frequently Asked Questions for Non-Entitlement Units of Local Government in Maryland
  • American Rescue Plan Act Policy Overview for Non-Entitlement Units of Local Government in Maryland
  • A presentation and recording from the DBM webinar held Thursday June  17, 2021
  • Links to U.S. Treasury Resources

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Planning Assistance in Action

Maryland Department of Planning Staff Step Up to Support Partner Agencies Amid COVID-19 Pandemic: Part II

“The Biggest Thing That’s Ever Happened”

Rumor Control

In mid-December 2020, Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) Director, Elizabeth Hughes, informed me (Steve Allan) that I had been selected for an interim reassignment to help fill a critical staffing need within the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and/or the Maryland Emergency Management Administration (MEMA). She explained this move was part of a larger effort to tap various personnel from across state government to assist with the COVID-19 response effort as it entered the vaccination phase, moving, hopefully, toward an end of the pandemic.

At that time, of course, the pandemic, or as a colleague aptly described it, “the biggest thing that’s ever happened,” was still marching forward with infection rates and death tolls increasing at an exponential rate. So, to be selected, felt like an honor and the chance to do my part, even without knowing how long the deployment would last or what it might entail.

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Resources and Tools

New! Important Changes Coming to Maryland’s Land Preservation, Parks and Recreation Plans


Are you looking for a hiking trail to relieve your cabin fever? Do you wonder where you can play this game of pickleball you’ve heard so much about?

Your county has you covered in its Land Preservation, Parks, and Recreation Plan (LPPRP).1 Updated every five years, the LPPRPs make counties eligible for state Program Open Space (POS) funds, which they use to buy park and recreation land, develop new parks, or renovate existing parks and recreation facilities.2 Many counties and their municipalities work together to ensure that the park and recreation needs of municipalities are addressed in the LPPRP. The next updated plans are scheduled for adoption by July 1, 2022.

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Planning Launches New Features on Housing Element Models and Guidelines


At the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning), we believe every Marylander deserves an opportunity for a safe, affordable home, to enjoy and share with their family. 

Last year at this time, both to celebrate and to do our part, Planning announced our new Housing Models and Guidelines (M&G) in our June 2020 edition of Planning Practice Monthly. The Housing M&G is designed to help communities and planners develop Housing Elements as part of their comprehensive planning processes. Specifically, the Housing M&G helps local planners and other agency staff customize their processes and housing elements based on the unique characteristics and needs of their communities.

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MPCA Corner

38th Annual MPCA Conference Registration now Available

MPCA Conference Logo

In our June 7 edition of Planning Practice Monthly, we asked you to Save the Date. Now you can register to join the Maryland Planning Commissioners Association (MPCA) for its 38th annual conference in Solomons on October 26-27. This year’s conference theme is Let’s Get Back to It! As Maryland emerges from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the important work of citizen planners continues, and the MPCA can’t wait to once again gather together, share insights, and learn about new and emerging planning trends that can benefit our communities.

The conference will offer topics of interest to the more than 1,400 citizen planners serving Maryland's counties and municipalities. The MPCA is still finalizing the 2021 conference agenda and will share it when available.

Please click here to register

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Continuing Education & Training


In each newsletter, we highlight the most relevant and timely upcoming events. Our website does include many additional events, so please visit it regularly for updates. Listings are searchable by subject.

Upcoming Conferences and Seminars

Land Pres

2021 Maryland Land Conservation Conference
July 13-14
For More Information

MACo Summer Conference
August 18-21
For More Information

Planning related conferences in Maryland and nearby states.

Click for more on Conferences


Listed webinars are typically free or low cost and cover a wide range of planning related issues. Many include CM credits.

Forever MD

Urban Conservation & Urban Agriculture

Wednesday, September 15 @ 12 p.m.
For More Information

New Partnerships, New Successes: Regional Conservation Partnerships in Maryland
Wednesday, October 20 @ 12 pm
For More Information

Click for more on Webinars

Training Around the State

Workshops and classes offered by state agencies or our partners.

MPCA Workshop

Mastering the Master Plan
Friday, July 16 10:00 am to 11:30 am
For More Information

Maryland Forest Products and Services Survey
For More Information

Click for more on Trainings

Funding Opportunities

Federal, state and/or non-governmental funding.

Crime Prevention Grant

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Governor's Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services - Deadline: July 16
For More Information

Click for more on Funding Opportunities

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Planning Practice Wednesday is a service of the Maryland Department of Planning. The Maryland Department of Planning is providing links to training and educational content relevant to planning and growth as a service to its mailing list subscribers. The content and views expressed are not necessarily those of Planning or the State of Maryland.