Sanctioned Growth: Has Its Time Come?

Recent information concerning the number of jobs created in Anne Arundel County contains a tone that appears to indicate that more jobs is a good thing — and that may well be the case.

But without a projected population saturation number for the county, isn’t that like taking off on a trip and not knowing where you are going? Or how long it will take to get there?

Planning for the future must be measured against an established goal, in terms of a number and the years to attain it.

Currently, the runaway economic tail is wagging the planning dog. If there is no public policy regarding the ultimate population of the county, then planning is just lip service to the development process. We need to look ahead to the community we want, and take steps now to assure that when we arrive at our destination, we’re where we want to be. Future generations are depending on us.


To applaud the creation of thousands of jobs is folly unless it is determined that it is on target for a future agreed-upon goal. Let’s say, for the sake of illustration, that 1.1 million people (roughly twice the current population) is chosen for a future population cap. The next decision would concern the number of years to assimilate the additional 550,000 increase in population.

Whether that number is 10, 20 or 50 years, a decision needs to be made. Once determined, then it becomes simple arithmetic to determine the number of jobs needed per year to attain the population growth sanctioned.

Then planning and budgeting for the infrastructure needed to accommodate the planned growth can be more enlightened. Creating jobs is not a contest, and being No. 1 is only relevant if you have a public policy to evaluate and confirm your accomplishment.

Without some movement towards the concepts outlined herein, we will continue politics and uncontrolled growth, as opposed to planning and measurable growth. It won’t be easy.

— Dave Brashears, Annapolis