Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Public Service Announcement: Zoning

I like this image from the Baltimore Housing Web site page about zoning. Those papers are looking a little dogeared..

Oh my god! Zoning! How incredibly exciting!!! Note all the exclamation marks making my point!!!

OK. Not the sexiest of topics, but for those of us in Baltimore, an important one. The city is embarking on writing new zoning codes for the city that will determine land use and design moving forward. This hasn't been done since the early 1970s. It will impact how we build, use our land, and activate the city through things like entertainment, restaurants, bike lanes, etc.

There are a series of public meetings over the coming weeks. So anyone who wonders why corner stores or sidewalk cafes aren't allowed in their neighborhood (mixed use!) or who wants to advocate for artists housing with studios in them (more mixed use!), or who can't understand why their mostly residential neighborhood is still zoned industrial (that's me!), now is your chance to voice your needs and to better understand why things work the way they work here. The topics of public health and sustainability are on the list of things to be discussed.

Tapas Teatro on Charles Street. Photo from the Baltimore Sun.

One of the things I would love to see is more active streetlife, and I'm curious to know how we decide when and where restaurants and shops are allowed to activate the sidewalk.

Here is a link to the city planning Web site offering more information on the plan. The email I received did not have exact times for all of the meetings, so those sites should tell you the latest. There's a even a meeting today...

Industrial Issues
Oct 22nd 4-6pm
Museum of Industry

Includes Zoning issues for industrial areas including waterfront areas, business industrial parks, and buffers around industrial areas.

Waterfront Issues

Oct. 27th , 5-7pm, at the Dept of Planning 417 E. Fayette Street
Nov 10, 6-8pm , at the Waterfront Partnership offices, President Street Station

This group will identify some of the unique issues to non-industrial waterfront property.

Arts and Entertainment
October 28th, Dept. of Planning, 417 E. Fayette 8th floor
November 12th, 6-8pm, Curran Room 4th flr. City Hall

This group will discuss zoning concerns for the arts communities as well as discuss live entertainment.

Downtown Issues
Nov 5th afternoon, Downtown Partnership 217 N. Charles

This group will discuss concerns of downtown property owners, residents and others.

Public Health Issues
Nov 13th, 6-8pm, Orleans Street library

JHU and Baltimore City Health Dept have lead an effort to develop how Public Health should be considered in Zoning.

Working group Wrap-up and presentation of Sustainability planning
November 17th, 6-8 pm, Baltimore Polytechnic HS

This meeting will be in open house format and give everyone the opportunity to see all the results of the working groups and add comments or suggestions. We will summarize the ideas from the Sustainability planning and how they might be incorporated in the new Zoning code.