Maryland Passes New Vacancy Tax Law

The law allows local jurisdictions to set tax rates for vacant lots and properties to discourage speculation and stimulate development.

1 minute read

May 3, 2024, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Aerial view of Annapolis, Maryland with state capitol dome in foreground.

Maryland state capitol in Annapolis, Maryland. | tamas / Adobe Stock

A new Maryland state law signed by Governor Wes Moore, House Bill 2, allows local governments to impose higher taxes on the owners of vacant properties, reports Danielle J. Brown for Maryland Matters.

The bill is part of an effort to reduce the number of underused and vacant lots and encourage development and housing construction. “Baltimore City Councilmember Odette Ramos explained that raising the taxes on vacant property could help reduce the number of abandoned houses and lots in two ways: to incentivize property owners to revitalize the lot for habitation and to make it easier for local jurisdictions to acquire the abandoned property.”

A legislative analysis reveals that there are 242,361 vacant properties across Maryland. Brown notes that “The law does not establish a required tax rate on vacant properties, but it provides the authority for local jurisdictions to do so at their own volition.” Higher taxes can speed up the process of “judicial in rem foreclosure,” letting the city acquire properties for redevelopment more quickly.

Thursday, May 2, 2024 in Route Fifty

Satalite image of a bright green lake surrounded by brownish-green land

California’s Largest Natural Lake Turns Green With … Algae

A potentially toxic algal bloom has turned Clear Lake in Northern California bright green, fed by increased runoff from human activity.

June 4, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

Moving truck with open back door with furniture and a blue suitcase visible inside.

The 15 Fastest-Growing Cities in the US

The U.S. Census Bureau released new 2023 population estimates on May 16 showing a slew of data for cities of all sizes and regions. Do you know the population change last year for the 15 largest cities in your state?

June 3, 2024 - Irvin Dawid

Three colorful, large beachfront homes, one khaki, one blue, and one yellow, with a small dune in front and flat sand in foreground.

Florida Homeowners 'Nope Out' of Beach Restoration Over Public Access

The U.S. Corps of Engineers and Redington Shores, Florida are at a standstill: The Corps won’t spend public money to restore private beaches, and homeowners are refusing to grant public access to the beaches behind their home in return for federal assistance.

June 7, 2024 - Grist

Large wood structure with bridge and people standing on it in green park in Toledo, Ohio.

Innovative Park Agencies Receive National Recognition

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) recently announced the recipients of this year’s awards for innovation in health and wellness, equity, conservation, and park design.

18 minutes ago - National Recreation and Park Association

Line of cars at a McDonald's drive-thru at night.

St. Paul Considers Drive-Thru Restrictions

Limiting drive-thrus can make streets more dangerous for pedestrians and snarl traffic.

1 hour ago - Axios

Pythian Building in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Permanent Affordability That Wasn't: Lessons from the Pythian Building

A high-stakes, high-profile community land trust project once hailed as a triumph in New Orleans ended in disaster for its residents, but it’s important to draw the right lessons about why.

2 hours ago - Shelterforce Magazine

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.