The 2023 Legislative Session of the Maryland General Assembly has now concluded, with many notable victories for the preservation community. After 90 days of championing key bills and testifying on many pieces of important legislation, Preservation Maryland is proud to report that we were again able to make significant policy advances.
SB0425 (HB0674) Maryland Historic Trust – Historic Preservation Partnership Program and Fund – Established
What This Bill Does: Provides the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) with the authority to make an expenditure from the existing fund to establish a Preservation Partnership Fund at a qualified non-profit preservation organization. The new Fund will revolve and exist in perpetuity and requires annual reporting, transparency requirements, and audit standards.
What’s Next: The non-profit selected will be able to utilize the funds to rehabilitate, restore and reinvest in historic places through loans, direct acquisition, option agreements and grants to accelerate the preservation of important historic places. Preservation Maryland will apply to be the administrator of the new Fund. Read more here.
In addition to the primary sponsorship of Sen. Sarah Elfreth and Del. Courtney Watson, co-sponsors in the Maryland Senate include Sen. Paul Corderman (Washington & Frederick Co.) and Sen. Katie Fry Hester (Howard & Montgomery Co.).This updated and reimagined program will allow each partner to do what they do best — and help save far more history in the process.
SB0551 (HB0546) Education – Service Year Option Program – Establishment (Serving Every Region Through Vocational Exploration Act of 2023)
What’s Next: Through our historic trades workforce development program The Campaign for Historic Trades, Preservation Maryland is dedicated to the use of historic preservation as a way of creating service learning opportunities and career advancement. We hope to play a role in providing opportunities for young adults to serve by restoring state-owned historic resources once this program is established.
SB0382 (HB0239) Accessory Dwelling Unit Promotion and Policy Task ForceWhat this Bill Does: This legislation would create a task force to study and make recommendations to expand Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in Maryland. The American Planning Association defines ADUs as, “a smaller, independent residential dwelling unit located on the same lot as a stand-alone (i.e., detached) single-family home.”
Why We Supported This Bill: ADUs are a simple way of creating more housing opportunities, especially in dense, built-out communities, like historic districts. We believe ADUs hold promise for our historic communities to play a part in addressing the state’s housing needs.
What’s Next: We look forward to working with the task force to ensure preservation issues and opportunities are addressed at the outset and best practices can be established to streamline ADU adoption in historic communities.
SB0650 (HB0789) Public Safety – State Disaster Recovery Fund
What This Bill Does: This legislation creates a dependable source of funds to support communities across the state with grants, loans and other financial support in the event of a major disaster.Why We Supported This Bill: Based on our experience following the harrowing floods in Ellicott City (2016, 2018), we believe this legislation is critical to make sure the state is in a position to quickly respond to the financial needs of communities following disasters. Given that so many historic communities are threatened by a changing climate, the fund is a priority for historic places across our state.
SB0783 Historic Properties Disposition and Preservation Team and Extension of the Income Tax Credit for Catalytic Revitalization Projects
What This Bill Does: This legislation reauthorizes a catalytic tax credit for the rehabilitation of former historic government complexes and creates a team within state government to holistically approach the disposition of state owned resources, buildings and structures.
Why We Supported This Bill: Preservation Maryland worked closely with bill sponsor Sen. Katie Fry Hester during her first term to establish a study group to research this issue and come up with recommendations for addressing the challenge of how best to dispose, reuse and incentivize the rehab of former government owned historic complexes. This legislation makes progress on implementing the findings of that report.
What’s Next: Preservation Maryland plans to work with the disposition team and task force to encourage representation from the non-profit historic preservation community on this important rehabilitation effort.