Thanks to the generous support of the Rural Maryland Council, Preservation Maryland hosted a meetup of preservation planners on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 from around the state including many representing the state’s rural areas. 

Rockville Planner Sheila Bashiri, Ellicott City, 2018.

Rockville Planner Sheila Bashiri, Ellicott City, 2018.

Preservation Maryland’s Executive Director, Nicholas A. Redding, opened the meeting and discussion with a review of the latest actions of the Maryland General Assembly, including a 5% additional incentive for the large commercial historic tax credit for projects that also result in affordable housing as well as historic reuse. Redding also discussed new state grant funds for revitalization work and recently passed cemetery legislation making it easier for descendants to visit family graves on private lands.

2019 Meeting: Preservation Maryland is pleased to reconvene Maryland’s planners for another statewide meeting on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 in Frederick, MD. Registration is now open.

Next on the agenda was Dr. Alexander Keim of the State Highway Administration (SHA), who presented on the work of the SHA cultural resources division and led a conversation about a new program to document threatened historic cemeteries that reside in or are adjacent to state highway right-of-ways. The new program, which will be launched in partnership with Preservation Maryland will be the first large scale, comprehensive statewide documentation of cemeteries that will result in a new GIS layer to help facilitate future planning efforts by the state and municipalities alike.

Finally, Nell Ziehl of the Maryland Historical Trust led a facilitated discussion of the to-be-drafted state historic preservation plan a document which MHT is required to update every five years. Ziehl led a lively conversation with planners about their own needs at the local level which touched on many difficult rural conversations, including demolition-by-neglect, the need for increased education, resources for low-income historic property owners and much needed updates to the state’s preservation standards as a result of the impacts of climate change and sea level rise occurring throughout the state.

The meeting, held at the Howard County Historical Society at the top of Ellicott City and was one of the first organized gatherings of preservation planners in over a decade but promises not to be the last given the ground covered and the interest in sharing case studies from around the state.