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BACKGROUND

The Department of Planning is pleased to release a draft of a new zoning code for Baltimore. The Baltimore City Zoning Code was last comprehensively updated in 1971. At that time, the focus was on auto-oriented development, separation of uses, and preserving the City’s heavy manufacturing base. Over the past 40 years, the economic realities and design goals of the City have evolved, and the current Code is no longer able to move Baltimore forward. Our goal is to preserve and enhance the long-term economic health of the City of Baltimore well into the 21st century.

The current Code has become outdated and overly complex, with more than 200 overlay districts, including Urban Renewal Plans and Planned Unit Developments. The resulting processes can be expensive, time-consuming and unpredictable.

In 2008, the Department of Planning began a process to review and rewrite the current Zoning Code. A Zoning Advisory Committee (ZAC) was established, made up of stakeholders from City Agencies, Community Leaders and the local development community. In addition, a series of community meetings took place centered on specific topics related to zoning, design and development.

In June 2010 we released the first DRAFT of a new Zoning Code and in November 2010 we released DRAFT maps.
We held over 12 city-wide meetings and hundreds of neighborhood meetings to discuss the proposed text and map.
We received numerous comments and suggestions. These were all reviewed as we prepared Version 2.It was released in September 2011.

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