House Bill 615 - Section 3-1001-3-1004 of the Natural Resources Article – entitled “Coast Smart Council” - was enacted into law in 2014. This law established the Maryland Coast Smart Council in the Department of Natural Resources for the purposes of adopting specific Coast Smart siting and design criteria to address impacts associated with sea level rise and coastal flooding on future capital projects. The Council’s Coast Smart Construction Program, detailing its siting and design criteria and implementation procedures, was approved on June 26, 2015.
House Bill 1350 (2018) - Section 3-101(a) and (f) and 8-101(a) and (i) of the Natural Resource Article - entitled "Sea Level Rise Inundation and Coastal Flooding - Construction, Adaptation, and Mitigation" expands the scope of the Coast Smart Council, the applicability of the Coast Smart siting and design criteria and modifies a requirement that must be included in the criteria. Under the bill, the criteria now apply to state and local projects for which at least 50% of the project costs are funded with state funds. The bill also specifies that the criteria do not apply to a public work contract of less than $500,000. The bill clarified the inclusion of a "highway facility" updated the lowest floor elevation requirement and expanded the participation of the Council.
House Bill 1427 (2019) - Section 3-1001(a) and (c) of the Natural Resources Article - entitled "Sea Level Rise Inundation and Coastal Flooding - Construction, Adaptation, and Mitigation" clarified the applicability of the siting and design guidelines, extended deadlines for revising the criteria and submission of nuisance flood plans.
Coast Smart Construction Program
The Coast Smart Construction Program include guidelines, and other directives applicable to the preliminary planning and construction of proposed capital projects to address sea level rise and coastal flood impacts; a requirement that the lowest floor elevation of proposed structures located within a Special Flood Hazard Area be built at an elevation of at least 2 feet above the base flood elevation; and provisions establishing a process to allow a Unit of State Government to obtain a categorical exception and/or waiver from complying with specific implementation requirements.
The Coast Smart Construction Program is for the use of all State of Maryland agencies that design and build facilities or prepare programs and budgets for the design and construction of facilities. It is intended specifically for the use of project managers, capital planners, and the professionals who will design and operate State-owned facilities. The Program will be reviewed on an annually by the Council and revised as necessary to address issues which may occur as the building of State facilities and knowledge of Coast Smart building practices evolves.