ANNAPOLIS THC RTB — ANNAPOLIS -- The Schaefer administration, in a scaled-back version of its once-sweeping land-use-control legislation, proposed last night that counties be required to do little more than acknowledge the linkage between growth management and environmental protection.
The new proposal calls on counties to include within their respective comprehensive development plans six broad principles -- called visions -- originally set forth by the governor's Commission on Growth in the Chesapeake Bay Region, better known as the "2020 Commission."
It also calls on the state to follow those principles in developing its own projects and recommends revamping the State Planning Commission into a State Growth and Resource Policy Commission that would help local governments make better development decisions.
Deputy Planning Secretary Ronald N. Young, who unveiled the recommendations, conceded it was a far cry from last year's proposed "2020" legislation, which would have required local governments to direct development into already developed areas, prohibiting it entirely in certain "sensitive" areas.
"It is a skeleton to build on," Mr. Young said. He emphasized that the administration was trying to work with local governments, which were angered at being ignored in the development of last session's "2020" legislation. Most local jurisdictions strongly opposed that bill, saying the state government was trying to usurp planning prerogatives of local governments.
But Sen. Gerald W. Winegrad, D-Anne Arundel, a leading environmentalist in the General Assembly, criticized the new proposal yesterday, saying it lacked standards, definitions of key terms, or even minimal enforcement provisions.
"This thing does nothing. What's going to change?" he demanded.
David S. Iannucci, chief legislative officer to Gov. William Donald Schaefer, said, "To put hard mandates or enforcement mechanisms in there would push MACO [the Maryland Association of Counties] away from the negotiating table."
Some members of the Special Joint Committee on Growth, which was created in response to the failure of last session's land-use bill, demonstrated that opposition still exists to any bill that smacks of state control. "Each county is different and [planning] should be done differently," said Delegate George C. Edwards, R-Garrett. "We don't need any state minimums, or mandates, or maximums, or anything else."