Maryland's Critical Area Program: Saving the Bay

by Stephen L. Salin, Dames & Moore, Bethesda, MD, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '87


Maryland's Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Protection Program (also referred to as the Critical Area Law, Subtitle 18 of the Natural Resources Article, Sections 8-1801 through 8-1816) was developed in response to intense conflict between environmental concerns and growing land use development activities within the Chesapeake Bay region. The Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission was established to develop criteria. The criteria emerged from the General Assembly in the spring of 1986, and must be implemented by the counties and municipalities adjacent to the bay through their local planning agencies by June 1988. Prior to implementation, these jurisdictions must evaluate the present uses of land within the Critical Area and designate it as one of three categories-intense development, limited development, or resource conservation. This paper explores the general requirements of the criteria on development activities in the Critical Area and, in addition, demonstrates that Maryland's general approach shows promise as a solution to dealing with some of the most environmentally sensitive and controversial coastal zone management problems through the implementation of land use controls.

Subject Headings: Bays | Soil pollution | Water pollution | Water quality | Land use | Water policy | Resource management | Natural resources | Maryland | United States

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