Commentary

Smart Growth in Maryland promotes sprawl

A new study from the University of Maryland’s National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education says that the state’s growth management laws are actually encouraging sprawl! Counties have adopted so-called “adequate facilities ordinances”–laws that require infrastructure to be in place before growth can occur. This is also called “concurrency”.

But in many counties, the so-called adequate public facilities ordinances have become de facto building moratoriums because the needed infrastructure has not been built, said the center’s report, which was underwritten by home-building industry groups. Even worse, researchers said, the measures are diverting new housing from areas designated for development under Maryland’s pioneering Smart Growth law, which was adopted a decade ago in an attempt to curtail suburban sprawl.

The article from the Baltimore Sun can be found here. The full study can be found here. I wish I could say I was surprised.

Samuel R. Staley, Ph.D. is a senior research fellow at Reason Foundation and managing director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University in Tallahassee where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in urban planning, regulation, and urban economics. Prior to joining Florida State, Staley was director of urban growth and land-use policy for Reason Foundation where he helped establish its urban policy program in 1997.