PHOTO BY CHRIS POLK Sen. E. J. Pipkin, R-36-Upper Shore, right, talks to Del. Michael Smigiel, R-36-Cecil outside the Maryland Senate chambers on Tuesday.

Eastern Shore delegates told a state official Friday that Gov. Martin O'Malley's PlanMaryland, which seeks to control sprawl, amounts to centralized planning and will restrict the private property rights of rural residents.

"Your problem is you want centralized control on land use in the state of Maryland," said Sen. E.J. Pipkin  to Richard E. Hall, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Planning, who was present at Friday's Eastern Shore delegation meeting in Annapolis.

PlanMaryland was put in place to account for the increase of people, homes and jobs over the next 20 years.

Though the plan was accepted by executive order by O'Malley in December, those on the Eastern Shore are still opposed to the policies that it would put in place to control growth.

Friday, legislators said PlanMaryland should have been brought before the General Assembly instead of going straight to the governor.

One of the biggest concerns was over a person's ability to develop their own land and whether or not families would be compensated if land value was diminished.

Hall defended the plan, saying that it will map out areas to be planned and zoned for preservation, but even if certain land is given this distinction, this will not completely prohibit it from being developed.

Delegate Michael Smigiel, R-Cecil, was very concerned that local authorities will be threatened with the possible loss of state funding if they refuse to comply with PlanMaryland. He repeatedly, but unsuccessfully, tried to get an answer from Hall.


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