Jon M. Laria, a partner in the Real Estate Department at the law firm of Ballard Spahr LLP, has been appointed Chair of the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission by Governor Martin O'Malley.

"It's an honor to have this opportunity to help ensure Maryland continues to grow and flourish in a smart and sustainable way," said Mr. Laria. "Projections show that our population will increase by well over a million people before 2030, and the State's policies will directly affect where Marylanders live and their quality of life. The Commission will work diligently to study the State's growth and land-use challenges and pursue solutions that make the most of our resources. We look forward to our work."

The Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission is charged with assessing and advising State officials on the progress of State, regional, and local planning in achieving the goals of the State's economic growth, resource protection, and planning policy. It is empowered to recommend changes in State law, regulations, policy, and procedures to achieve these goals. The 36-member Commission was created earlier this year to succeed the Maryland Task Force on the Future for Growth and Development, which Mr. Laria had chaired since 2007.

At Ballard Spahr, Mr. Laria represents owners, developers, and lenders in all types of commercial real estate transactions, including development, finance, acquisition, and leasing. He also has an active land use and zoning practice and has provided counsel for some of Baltimore's most prominent development projects.