Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) promotes growth that fosters vibrant, livable communities, preserves and protects the environment, and makes efficient use of state resources. Planning works closely with counties and municipalities to envision and guide where and how future development, revitalization, and preservation will occur.
Planning is one of the five state agencies that are statutory members of the
Maryland Military Installation Council (MMIC), and was identified with responsibilities for implementing and supporting many of the
2019 Statewide Joint Land Use Response Implementation Strategy recommendations that support civilian-military compatibility.
In addition, Planning is one of seven state agencies that take part in the review of
Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) applications for permitting approval of utility-scale renewable energy projects (along with the Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Energy Administration, Department of the Environment, Maryland Department of Transportation, and the Department of Commerce). Planning is also a part of the
Federal Offshore Siting Process for Renewable Energy projects. Compatible permitting and siting of renewable energy projects are key to maintaining and protecting the military mission and operational areas in the state.
Compatibility Factors relevant to the Department of Planning: Land Use, Cultural Resources, Light and Glare, Safety Zones, Land/Air/Sea Spaces, Vertical Obstructions
Relevant Programs and Plans
The Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) is a Planning division and serves
Preservation Office (SHPO). MHT's main office is in Crownsville,
but also oversees operations at the Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum in
St. Leonard. As the SHPO, MHT oversees
106 reviews in Maryland, in consultation with other agencies, jurisdictions,
developers, and communities. Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation
Act of 1966 requires agencies to take into account the effects of their
undertakings on historic properties. As federal installations, Maryland's
bases and forts are subject to Section 106 reviews, thus requiring them
to consider the impacts of their actions (such as demolition or modification
of structures) on historic resources within the fence line or those outside
the fence line potentially impacted by a project originating within the
To meet its mission to preserve and interpret the legacy of Maryland's
past, MHT offers tax credits, grants, and loans for acquisition, rehabilitation,
research, and interpretation projects supporting the state's historical
resources. Maryland's military installations are indelibly linked to
its past, and often contain structures and a unique legacy that MHT may
be able to support with its programs and resources. Preserving and telling
the story of the military in Maryland is an area of potential collaboration
between communities and installations.
MHT also plays a leading role in historical research and surveying in
preservation and heritage resiliency plans that provide “guidance for
effective decision making about historic property preservation throughout
the state.” MHT also provides direct local government and community assistance
Local Government program, which recognizes counties and municipalities
that have made a commitment to preservation activities in their community.
An example of one of these activities would be the establishment of a qualified
historic preservation commission to designate and review historical properties.
The State Code of Maryland delegates planning and zoning authority, including
comprehensive planning, to Maryland's jurisdictions. Planning takes the
lead coordination role for state agencies review of draft comprehensive
plans and provides direct technical assistance to jurisdictions in the comprehensive
planning process. Planning's
Comprehensive Plans webpage contains helpful guidance on plan requirements,
the adoption process, and citizen participation. Planning is also the depository
adopted comprehensive and master plans in Maryland, and oversees and
10-year review cycle. Jurisdictions considering civilian-military compatible
use in their next comprehensive plan update, or amendment, should consider
referencing Planning's resources and contacting the department to discuss
how and where the topic, including best practices and data, can be incorporated.
Planning is involved in local government comprehensive planning
from initiation to adoption. Upon request, the department's
Regional Planners are available to assist localities in comprehensive
plan funding access, vendor Requests for Proposal development, existing
plan review and analysis, data compilation, community outreach, and draft
plan review and feedback. Planning can also serve as the liaison between
military installations, communities, and other state agencies that may support
comprehensive plan development. Regional Planners serve as project managers
for the state's
60-day review process for comprehensive plans. At least 60 days prior
to the local Planning Commission's public hearing, non-charter counties
and municipalities must send a draft comprehensive plan, or amendment, to
Planning for coordinated review and comment. Regional Planners distribute
the draft to Planning's other divisions, as well as other state agencies
involved in the review process. By day 60, Planning transmits a compiled
review to the jurisdiction, which must be included in the public record
for the local Planning Commission's public hearing. Throughout the comprehensive
plan development process, Planning staff works with jurisdictions to ensure
that the compatibility needs of Maryland's military installations are considered.
Planning has also developed many resources to help jurisdictions with
their comprehensive planning needs; most recently a
Water Resources Element Guidance, a
Transportation Element Checklist, and
Housing Element Models & Guidelines. Please visit Planning's
Digital Library for the full list of comprehensive planning publications.
In partnership with Maryland's funding and regulatory agencies, Planning oversees Priority Funding Areas (PFAs) and the review of local PFA designations. Maryland established
PFAs to ensure the state's growth-related spending (e.g., roads, water, and sewer infrastructure) goes to areas and communities locally designated as growth areas, thus ensuring a more efficient use of state funding and limiting growth induced by the extension of infrastructure into areas better suited for land preservation and limited growth.
The state initiated PFAs in 1997. The designation of a jurisdiction's PFA is under the sole discretion of the local government. The state cannot designate an area as a PFA nor remove an existing PFA designation, but jurisdictions seeking to expand their existing PFAs must submit a PFA certification request to Planning. If the locally designated growth area meets PFA criteria, including having the proper zoning and water and sewer plan designations, Planning will concur with the local designation and certify it as a PFA. However, if an area does not meet one or more of the criteria under the PFA Law, Planning will place a "comment" on the area, indicating it as a PFA Comment Area on its
interactive map. For purposes of state agencies' administration of limited state funding resources subject to the PFA Law, PFA Comment Areas are often considered non-PFA areas, which limits their access to certain growth-related funding programs. Visit Planning's
Local Government Planning Frequently Asked Questions on PFAs to learn more. Jurisdictions and military installations should consider PFAs in their compatible planning efforts. In many instances, areas in which an installation would like to avoid encroaching local land uses (such as dense residential development) should not be designated as PFAs. However, if land uses, infrastructure, and amenities supportive of an installation's mission would benefit from state funding, then jurisdictions should consider designating areas in which they are desired as a PFA.
Jurisdictions and military installations should consider PFAs in their compatible planning efforts. In many instances, areas where an installation would like to avoid actions that may result in encroachment (such as dense residential development) should not be designated PFA, as PFAs indicate where a community wishes growth to occur. However, if land uses, infrastructure, and amenities supportive of an installation's mission would benefit from state funding, then jurisdictions should consider designating areas in which they are desired as PFA.
Planning is home to the
Maryland State Data Center (MSDC). In partnership with the U.S. Census
Bureau, the MSDC compiles, monitors, and analyzes population, demographic,
building permit, housing, and economic data for the state and its jurisdictions,
including population projections for Maryland's counties. The MSDC is the
best place for Maryland planners and stakeholders to quickly access Census
and American Community Survey data for the state. Military installations
and jurisdictions should access the MSDC's resources when considering growth
trends and population characteristics in areas of mutual planning interest.
Upon request, the MSDC can also contribute targeted data and analysis to
aid a jurisdiction's specific planning needs.