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The Smarter Growth Alliance for Charles County will hold a public forum, “A Better Charles County through Smart Growth,” 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. May 30 in Room 113 of the Center for Business and Industry at the College of Southern Maryland’s La Plata campus at 8730 Mitchell Road.

The forum will feature former Gov. Parris N. Glendening, who spearheaded Maryland’s pioneering and widely respected smart growth initiative, and Ed McMahon of the Urban Land Institute, a leading authority on sustainable development, land conservation and smart growth.

“Maryland is going to continue to grow and Charles County is going to continue to grow, but right now Charles County is not on a path to grow in a way that’s smart and sustainable,” Kimberly Golden Brandt of 1000 Friends of Maryland said in a news release. “SGACC is hosting this educational event to help the public better understand smart growth, particularly how it is good for the local economy and the environment, and to debunk myths and misinformation about smart growth.”

Additionally, Glendening’s visit marks a 15-year milestone since he was inspired to employ smart growth in counties like Charles, forging a new and powerful planning paradigm for Maryland, the release states.

“Charles County citizens keep asking our planning leaders and elected officials for a better vision, and this forum will provide one,” said Meredith Sweet, membership chairwoman of the Southern Maryland Group of the Sierra Club, and a Waldorf resident for 13 years. “The speakers’ presentations will illustrate why smart growth is the best way to go for revitalizing Waldorf and securing light rail, while protecting our rural character. Folks will learn why smart growth, with its hallmark of walkable, mixed-use communities, is the logical planning alternative to taxpayer-subsidized sprawl development.”

Both Glendening and McMahon work with communities throughout the country as they incorporate smart growth principles into their planning and policy initiatives. Glendening works with leaders nationally to help them apply smart growth principles to rebuild state and local economies. McMahon has assisted communities in all 50 states on a variety of community planning and economic development issues, the release states.

“Citizens should attend this forum to learn about Smart Growth and its importance at this critical juncture in our county’s history,” Hal Delaplane, president of the Conservancy for Charles County, said in the release. “The speakers will provide a workable and upbeat vision. SGACC and its member organizations are thinking forward — not backward — and we are engaging parents, community leaders, business owners, taxpayers, homeowners and our decision-makers so they understand smart growth through a practical, not just political, lens.”

The public is invited to attend the forum. Light refreshments will be served.

Formed in 2008, SGACC is an alliance of more than 20 local and statewide groups whose combined supporters total 120,000 in Maryland and more than 5,000 in Charles County.

Go to for more information.