Smart Growth Maryland Announces New Smarter Growth Alliance for Howard County

Smart Growth Maryland is proud to have partnered with the Howard County Sierra Club and The People’s Voice, LLC to create the Smarter Growth Alliance for Howard County, which brings together organizations focused on sustainable development, healthy communities, and protection of natural resources for information sharing, strategizing, and coordinating advocacy efforts.

fall colors

Fall foliage in Howard County (by Suzanne Wright for Maryland DNR, 2014)

Smart Growth Maryland is a campaign of Preservation Maryland that advocates for a more environmentally and economically sustainable future that creates opportunities for all Marylanders through better development patterns. A major component of this campaign is advancing plans, legislation, and policies that support smart growth at the county level.

The kick-off meeting for this new alliance was held in mid-September 2019 and was attended by representatives of many of our longtime state partners, including Clean Water Action, Maryland League of Conservation Voters, Safe Skies Maryland, Audubon Society of Central Maryland, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Local organizations represented included the Howard County Conservancy, the Horizon Foundation, the Community Ecology Institute, Earth Forum of Howard County, Transition Howard County, and Bicycling Advocates of Howard County.

leadership group

Leadership group of the Smarter Growth Alliance for Howard County, 2019.

The Alliance’s first advocacy effort is supporting improved protections for Howard County’s forests. Following County Executive Calvin Ball’s recent announcement of amendments to local forest conservation law to meet and exceed State requirements, the Alliance submitted a letter to the County Executive and Council signed by sixteen organizations expressing our strong support for:

• Changing the standard used to grant waivers to “unwarranted hardship” instead of the current “practical difficulty” which is less stringent than State law.

• Decreasing the amount of trees that can be removed before reforestation requirements apply.

• Adding greater protections for large, contiguous tracts of forest that provide a variety of benefits, including stormwater management and wildlife habitat.

• Increasing penalties for willful violations.

Important Dates: All members of the new Smarter Growth Alliance for Howard County invite advocates to the County Council’s public hearing at 7PM on November 18, 2019. Wear green to show your support!

ATTEND THE HEARING

In addition to legislative advocacy, the alliance is eager to be engaged in upcoming efforts to develop a new comprehensive plan for Howard County’s future and the update of the zoning ordinance.

Smart Growth Maryland continues to lead the Smarter Growth Alliance for Charles County, the Smarter Growth Alliance for Frederick County, and the Anne Arundel Alliance for Livable Communities – established alliances that offer a good model for Howard County. These Alliances have made a difference in each county by amplifying the voices of participating organizations and increasing their effectiveness.


This was originally published here.

Smart Growth Maryland is a major program of Preservation Maryland which advocates for a more environmentally and economically sustainable future that creates opportunities for all Marylanders through better development patterns..

Smart Growth Maryland was launched in 2018 when 1000 Friends of Maryland, an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization merged into Preservation Maryland. This merger of activities resulted in increased efficiencies, bigger impacts and more donor dollars put towards the critical work of helping save historic places and growing smarter.

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