Smart Growth Maryland is a campaign 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.
Smart Growth Maryland focuses its work in three critical areas: advocacy, education and technical assistance.
The staff of Smart Growth Maryland advocate at the local, state and federal level for programs and policies which incentivize smarter growth patterns and protect critical natural, cultural and historic resources. In addition, Smart Growth Maryland also presents at workshops, trainings, seminars and conferences throughout the state to provide access to the latest trends in smart growth. Smart Growth Maryland’s professional staff also works throughout the state to assist counties, municipalities and developers that are contemplating smart growth projects. Staff provides a wide range of expert technical assistance with projects aimed at revitalization, land-use planning and resource conservation.
Historic preservation was the original smart growth movement.
Preservationists have long made the argument that revitalization of existing communities – and their historic places – is the wisest form of economic redevelopment. When existing communities are revitalized, sprawl is limited. This symbiotic relationship has kept the smart growth and historic preservation communities advocating on each other’s behalf for many years.
The launch of Smart Growth Maryland further solidified an already strong relationship between these two interest areas. Smart Growth Maryland provides Preservation Maryland with the ability to advocate for an even greater set of policies and programs that make preservation work possible. Alternatively, Preservation Maryland provides the smart growth community a unique partner to advance their common mission and to utilize historic places as a part of an overall smart growth message.
The overlap between smart growth and historic preservation is impressive. Many examples abound:
In addition to these specific examples, smart growth advocates and historic preservationists also share a common affinity for several broader issues here in Maryland:
Smart Growth Maryland is a major program of Preservation Maryland. Smart Growth Maryland is not an independent organization. The finances of Smart Growth Maryland, like all other programs of Preservation Maryland, are annually reported on Preservation Maryland’s IRS 990 form. Donations restricted to the Smart Growth Maryland Campaign are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law and are recognized by an acknowledgment letter from Preservation Maryland. Smart Growth Maryland is supported by many individual, corporate, organizational, and foundation donors.
Smart Growth Maryland is administratively and programmatically supported by the staff of Preservation Maryland. Just as Preservation Maryland supports the rest of its programs like Heritage Fund grants and our Six-to-Fix program, the organization provides both leadership and support for Smart Growth Maryland. Preservation Maryland maintains an extremely low overhead rate and invests nearly 90 cents of every donor’s dollar directly into programs.
Smart Growth Maryland and our partners in the Smarter Growth Alliance for Charles County are standing in opposition to a proposed Amendment to the 2016 Comprehensive Plan that would rezone 558 acres of protected land within the Watershed Conservation District as Employment and Industrial Park District. The rezoning would result in increased development, the destruction of vital natural resources, and an increase in impervious surfaces.
The 2021 Legislative Session of the Maryland General Assembly came to a close on Monday, April 12, 2021. After 90 days of championing key bills and testifying on many other pieces of important legislation, it is safe to say that Preservation Maryland had one of its busiest legislative sessions in recent history, and everything was accomplished remotely. With Session adjourned until January 2022, we are happy to report that we were able to make significant advances for preservation and smart growth in Maryland.
In a recent statewide poll conducted of likely voters, 90% of Marylanders expressed support for Program Open Space, a state program that supports the acquisition, conservation, and improvements at Maryland’s natural resources Additionally, 64% of Marylanders were opposed to diverting funds from Program Open Space for other budget uses.
Governor Hogan’s newly released FY22 budget includes full funding for Program Open Space, a program that actively underwrites open space conservation and community park amenities.
On January 20, 2021, Governor Hogan released his FY22 budget, which retains funding for several key preservation programs.
Today marks the start of the 442nd Session of the Maryland General Assembly. While this session may not look like those of years past due to Covid-19 precautions, Preservation Maryland stands ready to be the voice of historic preservation in Annapolis. We have a full slate of priorities in support of historic tax credits, economic recovery, community revitalization, preservation funding, and smart growth.
As more suburban communities become eligible for historic designation what considerations should preservationists consider as we weigh the balance of preservation and adaptation in these neighborhoods? Preservation Maryland convened a panel of experts to discuss. That recording is now available.
As a result of advocacy work by Smart Growth Maryland and our local smart growth and land conservation partners, the Maryland Board of Public Works voted on October 21, 2020 to approve the expansion of the Zekiah Swamp Rural Legacy Area in Charles County, essentially doubling its size.
Frederick County has recently announced the creation of the Rural Historic Preservation Grant Program that would provide grants up to $50,000 to individual land owners and non-profits for the restoration or rehabilitation of historically significant houses, barns, and sites in rural areas.