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Md. planning department releases new sprawl statistics

Gov. Martin O'Malley will renew his call for a statewide growth plan Friday at the annual Maryland Association of Counties summer conference in Ocean City. Plan Maryland, as the administration calls it, would steer population growth into already developed areas while seeking to stop the seemingly-endless rings of suburbs radiating out from the state's urban centers into forests and farmlands. O'Malley will be armed with a new map and new statistics. The land-use map, updated for the first time since 2002, shows 128,650 acres of land were developed in the state over those nine years, according to the state Department of Planning. That's good for 8.4 percent growth, or about twice as fast as the state has added population during that time. "The need for a state growth plan is made evident by the latest analysis," said Planning Secretary Richard E. Hall. "The data shows that Maryland has now developed more than 1.6 million acres, or about 27 percent of the total land area, in total."

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