Do Maryland Residents Want More Density?

The results of a recent statewide growth visioning exercise show a continuing desire to reign in sprawl by focusing development in urban areas along transit lines.
September 29, 2006, 8am PDT | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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"A broad cross-section of Marylanders favors steering most of the state's expected population growth over the next 25 years into already-existing communities and preserving more rural land than local officials are planning to do, according to a new report..

The report, summarizing a series of growth 'visioning' workshops last spring, says participants generally agreed there should be a major shift in Maryland's land-use patterns, increasing development density inside the Baltimore and Washington beltways and along transit lines - in some cases beyond what current zoning allows - to spare forests and farmland from the bulldozer."

"[However,] workshop organizers acknowledged that proposals to increase development density are not politically popular, as residents complain about clogged roads, overcrowded classrooms and loss of green space."

" 'There is some disconnect between that desire [to concentrate development] and what happens on the ground,' said John W. Frece, associate director of UM's Smart Growth research center and the report's primary author. 'There are two things people don't like - one is sprawl, and the other is density.' "

"The U.S. Census Bureau has projected that Maryland, the fifth-most densely populated state in the country, will grow from 5.5 million people now to 7 million by 2030. An additional 28,000 households and 45,000 jobs are expected in the next decade as a result of a nationwide military base reorganization."

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Published on Tuesday, September 26, 2006 in The Baltimore Sun
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