Planning Practice Monthly, August 2022 Edition

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Friday, August 26, 2022

In This Issue

Resources and Tools

Local Spotlight

From our Partner Agencies

MPCA Corner

Conferences, Webinars, Training, and Funding

Resources and Tools

Maryland Department of the Environment Launches New Online Environmental Justice Screening Tool


In June 2022, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) launched an online tool (utilizing geographic information system (GIS) mapping software) to help users identify potential locations of environmental contamination, environmental justice (EJ) issues and/or environmentally overburdened communities.

According to MDE’s website, the EJ Screening Tool is, “...intended to enhance agency compliance, oversight, and monitoring activities, and to enhance communication and outreach in significant permitting activities in EJ or overburdened or underserved communities.”

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Housing Data Dashboard Updates

Housing Dashboard Data Image

The Maryland Department of Planning recently updated its Housing Data Dashboard to include 2022 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Area Median Income (AMI) data and U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS) 2016-2020 Five-Year Estimates. The Housing Data Dashboard, part of the Housing Element Models & Guidelines website developed by Planning in 2020, helps jurisdictions meet the comprehensive planning requirements of HB 1045, passed in 2019. The AMI data is displayed, for whichever geography (county, place, census tract) a user selects, in the dashboard’s AMI calculator.

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Local Spotlight

Affordable Housing in Maryland: A Rural Developer’s Experience

Housing - Liberty Hill

While articles about sky rocketing rental and home sales prices, housing shortages, and homelessness have routinely made national headlines over the past few years, common misconceptions about affordable housing remain.

To help deal with such issues, the Maryland legislature passed House Bill (HB) 1045 in 2019, which requires jurisdictions with planning and zoning authority to address housing as part of a comprehensive plan.

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New Decade Means New Comprehensive Plans

The New Decade Means New Comprehensive Plans

Many jurisdictions coordinate new comprehensive plans with the arrival of the decennial census. Census data is the foundation for comprehensive planning; providing a snapshot of Maryland communities, outlining growth trends, and distinguishing key demographic indicators.

In 2013 House Bill 409 increased the review period for comprehensive plans from six to ten years. To learn more about the ten year cycle and when your jurisdiction’s review is due, please visit Planning’s Comprehensive Plan 10-Year Review Cycle webpage.

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From our Partner Agencies

Walktober 2022 is Nearly Here...Just a Jog-trot Around the Corner!

Walktober 2022

Walking is an activity that’s part of daily life for many Marylanders and is recognized as a healthy transportation choice. In fact, walking is Maryland’s official state exercise!

But with issues of pedestrian safety and access, many communities recognize that walking, and improving the walkability of our neighborhoods, requires both public attention and public action.

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Register Now for the 2022 Appalachian Regional Commission’s Annual Conference

ARC Conference 2022

Join the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) at its 2022 annual conference titled One Appalachia: Connection & Collaboration, cohosted by the state of Maryland, October 17-19, at the Rocky Gap Resort in Flintstone, Maryland. 

This event will highlight how ARC’s 13 states and 423 counties are collaborating to bring each of ARC’s strategic investments to life. The conference will feature ARC partners who work daily to strengthen Appalachia by creating and expanding workforce development, growing sectors like outdoor recreation, developing entrepreneurs, and building leadership and community capacity.

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Maryland Energy Administration Partners with Maryland Environmental Service to Distribute $400,000

MEA Solar 2

The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) is pleased to announce the opening of the Solar Technical Assistance Program. This program provides technical assistance to state and local government agencies to evaluate the potential for, and to site, solar arrays on or around government buildings. Funded through the Strategic Energy Investment Fund, the program also offers access to technical resources and vetted contractors.

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MPCA Corner

Maryland Planning Commissioners Association 39th Annual Conference Sponsorship Opportunities Available

MPCA 39th Conference

The 39th Annual Maryland Planning Commissioners Association (MPCA) conference is right around the corner! Make sure you register and join the MPCA in the City of Frederick on October 25 and 26 for two days of citizen planner education, camaraderie, and networking. Don’t delay, the early bird registration rate ends Aug 31st! The MPCA is seeking nominations to recognize citizen planners and recently developed the draft program. The MPCA is also partnering with Planning to develop sessions that will be eligible for up to five AICP CM Credits.

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Maryland Planning Commissioners Association Seeking New Planning Board Members for Mentorship Program

MPCA Workshop

In the April 28, 2022, Planning Practice Monthly, the Maryland Planning Commissioners Association (MPCA) announced a Planning Commissioner and Board of Appeals mentorship program. In the spring, the MPCA was recruiting mentors and now it seeks board members interested in learning from experienced members to help them navigate the sometimes-daunting challenges of citizen planning.

Often, new board members may not know what questions to ask and be hesitant to ask colleagues to avoid looking unprepared. While many jurisdictions provide board training and education and the state has developed the Planning Commissioner Training Course, some may be interested in personal level training that only a mentor can provide.

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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

Planning related conferences in Maryland and nearby states.

Potomac River Commission

2022 Potomac River Conference: A Conversation on PFAs
September 22
For More Information

ARC Conference: One Appalachia
October 17-19
For More Information

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.

Smart Growth Online

Collect, Create, Classify, Curate: Enhancing and Integrating Planning and Emergency Management Capabilities
Wednesday, September 7 @ 1 p.m.
AICP CM Approved 
For More Information

Follow the Money: Are We Making Progress Toward Meeting Regional Housing Needs?

Wednesday, September 14 @ 12 pm
For More Information

Click for more on Webinars

Training Around the State

Workshops and classes offered by state agencies or our partners.

Bay Crossing Study

The Woods in Your Backyard

10 week online course
For More Information

Chesapeake Bay Crossing Study- Tier 2 Virtual Open House
Wednesday, September 7
For More Information

Click for more on Trainings

Funding Opportunities

Federal, state and/or non-governmental funding.

MHT Shaw House Logo

The Maryland Historic Revitalization Tax Credit Program, Competitive Commercial Tax Credits
Maryland Historical Trust - Deadline: August 31
For More Information

Grants Gateway
MD Dept. of Natural Resources

Outcome 5 Deadline: September 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.