What does Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening's "smart growth" plan mean for Washington County?
It's probably too early to tell now, but if local officials can quickly line up some quality projects, they might be able to define the bill's role in development across the state.
The "smart growth" bill was Glendening's attempt to deal with what he's come to believe is unaffordable sprawl development. His predecessor, Gov. William D. Schaefer, tried to do much the same thing with the 2020 growth plan, but lawmakers rejected its attempt to give the state planners veto power over all local land-use decisions.
We said then that the state should opt for a carrot rather than a stick and give the counties guidelines rather than unbendable rules. Reward counties that meet guidelines with increased state aid, we said, and reserve harsher enforcement only for those areas which completely disregard the state's suggestions.