Welcome to the Maryland Land Use Blog, the official website of the MSBA Real Property Section’s Land Use Committee.

Our committee has generally existed for a single purpose: to produce the once-every-two-years Land Use Institute program. We, however, have had informal conversations over the years about how to expand the committee’s scope. But land use practices are insular. A land use attorney in Baltimore City will have a different practice than one on the Eastern Shore. The complexity of the zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations, and master plans in Western Maryland’s jurisdictions can be contrasted with those in the Regional District (most of Prince George’s County and Montgomery County). Developing in jurisdictions that have significant frontage along the water, like Anne Arundel County and Queen Anne’s County, may involve more regulation from the State and federal government than landlocked counties. Thus, we had consider how to provide relevant information to all members of a bar whose attorneys’ practices rarely extend beyond local borders. With the input of practitioners and judges across the State, this blog is the result.

We invite all members of the MSBA’s Real Property Section to submit contributions. There are certainly many land use “hot topics” that are ripe for discussion: RLUIPA, the regulation of hemp, the viability of mixed-use development in an age of Amazon and a pandemic, inclusionary zoning and the elimination single-family zoning, environmental justice, and climate change. Standing and State regulation of land use are also perennial issues that always seem pertinent during every Land Use Institute. Various jurisdictions are also grappling with how to encourage solar development and other renewable energy uses while trying to preserve agricultural land uses. If you think a topic relevant in your locale may interest practitioners across Maryland, please tell us about it.

We would like to thank all of you who served as a sounding board and offered ideas for this blog. But we would like to specifically thank particular members of the Real Property Section Council’s leadership who advanced this idea from a mere topic of general discussion to a website that will hopefully serve as a resource to MSBA members. In particular, we thank Section Council President Sarah Cline, Section Council Treasurer/Secretary Bryan Saxton, and Technology Committee Chair Lin Pang. We also want to thank MSBA Senior Sections Manager Bob Bershad for serving as the MSBA’s liaison and for offering to make sure we remain on track.

This is only Version 1.0, and we expect to add features as we receive feedback from our readers. Please do not hesitate to contact us with suggestions about how to improve this initial iteration or if you would like to contribute. We look forward to hearing from you.

Peter Goldsmith is Senior Counsel at Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and chair of the Real Property Section Land Use Committee.