A Battle For Open Space In Maryland

50 acres of woodland are up for sale in Maryland, and while a developer has scoped the land as a good site for 25 homes, local residents are pressuring local and state officials to employ a little-used open space funding program to buy up the land.

Program Open Space is a 30-year-old law that requires Maryland's counties to set aside 30 acres of land for parks and recreation for every 1,000 people. The state intended to achieve this goal by taking a small slice of money from every real estate transaction within its borders. And over the years, some counties have been able to provide the 30 acres per 1,000 residents the law requires. But Baltimore County, which is currently facing an open space tug-of-war between a housing developer and residents, is more than 30% below its open space quota. Residents are hoping that local and state officials will take advantage of the upcoming sale of 50 acres of woodland to help the county catch up to the state's mandate.

"Maryland's Program Open Space is a pioneering effort enacted more than 30 years ago that requires money be set aside from each real estate transaction to finance the purchase of land for public use: ball fields, playgrounds and parks."

"Because of a variety of factors -- from the rising price of land to repeated diversions of money to balance the state budget -- Maryland's pioneering open-space program has failed in recent years to keep pace with development."

Full Story: Md. open-space program lags behind development

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