Baltimore City's zoning code is being updated for the first time since the 1970's. The current code focuses on zoning single use areas, much like the suburbs. Bikemore is working to ensure the new zoning code, Transform Baltimore, supports mixed-use, dense neighborhoods that promote biking, walking, and transit.
What is zoning?
Zoning refers to how we control the physical development of our city. It says how much you can build on each property and what use the building can have.
Through planning and regulation, zoning laws can help our government ensure communities are healthy, functional spaces. Unfortunately, many zoning codes in the 1950’s to 1970’s favored drawing single use areas, much like an old game of SimCity. There were zones you worked, zones you lived, and zones you shopped or dined. Often, these zones were separated in such a way that you could only access them by car. Combined with explicitly racist planning covenants and segregation laws, this planning method led to blight, vacancy, and disinvestment in Baltimore City and many other American cities.
Transform Baltimore, our city’s effort to rewrite that archaic and problematic code, is currently underway. The new code recognizes that cities are diverse places, and that city neighborhoods thrive when there are a mix of uses — where neighbors can walk to places where they can shop, dine, worship, work, and recreate. Neighborhoods planned like this see lower crime rates, higher resident retention, and improved quality of life for all residents. As this is a lengthy and important legislative overhaul, thousands of amendments have been introduced. Some promote Bikemore’s vision for a thriving city, and some are incredibly damaging and seek to revert us to single use zones, defeating the purpose of a zoning code re-write.
Bikemore is present and vocal at the City Council work sessions, Planning Commission hearings, and other related meetings to this process to ensure our supporters’ vision for Baltimore is strongly represented.