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List of State Officials - Robert Ehrlich, Governor; Michael Steele, Lt. Governor; Kendl Ehrlich, MDE Secretary 

Volume 1, Number 7

November 2005

eMDE is a monthly publication of the Maryland Department of the Environment. It covers articles on current environmental issues and events in the state. Additional monthly features include: MDE public meetings and hearings schedule, enforcement and compliance notes, and permitting activity.

Balancing Land Use and Environmental Decisions

Maryland Departments of the Environment and Planning Host Regional Workshops

By Julie Oberg

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MDE Secretary Kendl P. Philbrick 

Department of Planning Secretary Audrey Scott 

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The Maryland Department of Planning estimates that 1.1 million additional residents by 2030. This growth will place increased focus on the Maryland Department of the Environment’s main mission, protection and restoration of our environment. In an effort to improve planning and coordination among state agencies and local governments, the Maryland Departments of the Environment and Planning are hosting four regional workshops, entitled: Balancing Land Use and Environmental Decisions. These events bring together local and regional officials, stakeholders and businesses to address the critical need to start early, plan better, and encourage inter-organizational cooperation throughout the state.

“From an environmental perspective, improper planning can put a strain or stress on water supply and make it more difficult to restore the Chesapeake Bay and ensure water quality,” said Secretary Kendl P. Philbrick. “Our hope is that the workshops will assist in developing plans to achieve greater coordination between state and local agencies that deal with land use and environmental issues.”

Two Heads are Better than One
MDE Secretary Kendl Philbrick and MDP Secretary Audrey Scott are pooling their experience and leadership to facilitate dialogue on balancing growth while protecting the environment. The October and November regional workshops have accommodated 50 attendees per venue. Participants include state and local stakeholders and members of the private sector who discuss difficult and potentially controversial growth and environmental issues affecting Maryland’s local communities.

Best Balance of Land Use Planning and Environmental Needs
Challenges have already arisen that could cause adverse political and economic impacts to local jurisdictions, developers, businesses, and potential homeowners. Planning early will enable us to better address our water supply needs as well as ensure sufficient capacity for wastewater systems. To ensure the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay, the land use planning process must plan to meet water quality control while considering infrastructure expansion, such as schools and roads. The ultimate goal is to achieve a healthy pace of economic development with orderly sustainable growth patterns that protect the environment.

Community Needs and Water Concerns
The workshops are an ideal forum for participants to discuss ways to achieve a balance between a community’s growth needs, and the environmental effects of that growth. Areas of particular interest are wastewater capacity, drinking water appropriations and water quality. The goals of the workshops are to: identify key current and future regional issues, strategies, alternatives and solutions that properly balance land use planning with environmental protection. The intent is for participants to identify action items for both state and local jurisdictions.

Workshop Locations
Workshops were held Oct. 3 at Howard Community College in Columbia, Oct. 18 at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills, and Nov. 1 at the College of Southern Maryland in La Plata.

The final workshop will be held on Nov. 15 at Frederick Community College in Frederick. For more information, please contact, Don Mauldin at (410) 537-3172 or editor.mde@maryland.gov.


©2005 Copyright MDE

Editorial Board
Maryland Department of the Environment
1800 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21230