Jon M. Laria, a partner in the Real Estate Department at Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP, has been appointed by Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley as chair of the state's Task Force on the Future for Growth and Development.

"It's an honor to have the opportunity to help ensure Maryland continues to grow and flourish in a smart and sustainable way," said Mr. Laria.  "Our task force will work diligently to study the state's growth and land use challenges and recommend solutions that make the most of our resources.  We look forward to our work."

Twenty-one members representing diverse public and private constituencies throughout Maryland serve on the task force.  The task force will study current land use policies, their impact on growth in the state, and current trends and challenges for the state, county, and municipal governments.  It will also make recommendations concerning the adoption of a State Development Plan, State Transportation Plan, and State Housing Plan.  The task force will report its findings and make recommendations to the governor and General Assembly by December 1, 2008, and then continue to provide advice to the governor's Smart Growth Subcabinet through 2010.

Mr. Laria is a member of Ballard's Construction Group, Eminent Domain and Valuation Group, Housing Group, Zoning and Land Use Group, Public Finance Group, Real Estate Finance Group, Transactional Finance Group, and Public-Private Partnerships Group.  He represents owners, developers, and lenders in all types of commercial real estate transactions, including finance, acquisition, development, and leasing. Mr. Laria also has an active land-use and zoning practice and has provided counsel for some of Baltimore's most prominent development projects.  Mr. Laria serves on the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University Master of Science in Real Estate program and has taught Advanced Real Estate Transactions in Maryland's continuing legal education programs.

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