Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tax incentives for developers can foster sprawl

For all the talk of how the State of Maryland's smart growth regulations haven't been as effective as people want, the negative reaction in some quarters to PlanMaryland, which is a land use plan designed to focus state spending on infrastructure and programs in areas with extant infrastructure and development, rather than to areas that are undeveloped, the reality is that it is very difficult to reign in sprawl because of the competition between jurisdictions.

Montgomery County competes with DC and Prince George's County and vice versa, and Baltimore City competes with Baltimore County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County and Harford County, etc.

A development like Konterra--20+ miles from Downtown DC--in Prince George's County looks like sprawl to someone like me, but is desirable development to various interests there, despite the fact that it is greenfield development and outside of the core of the county and not in areas that would be deemed Priority Growth areas by the State of Maryland.

But Prince George's County is faced with a real choice.

All their talk is lately of "smart growth" and "transit-oriented development," yet their biggest development projects for the most part are greenfield projects like National Harbor and Konterra Town Center.

Now, Konterra is asking for a property tax break. See "Massive planned development tries to get Prince George's tax breaks" from the Examiner.

If Prince George's County truly wants to move its land use and transportation planning towards a new paradigm and path, they have to say no to this request.

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