Baltimore County Now
Open Filing Period: September 1 to October 15
Baltimore County’s Comprehensive Zoning Map Process (CZMP) now starts online. A new web-based platform allows applicants to initiate a request to change zoning maps by pre-filing online.
The platform gives citizens more convenient access to information, reduces the amount of time needed to file a rezoning request, and increases the county’s processing efficiency.
The open filing period for changes to Baltimore County zoning maps runs from September 1 to October 15, 2015. The Web address for pre-filing a zoning change request and information about the CZMP can be found at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/czmp
CZMP applicants will now register and complete the first step of a rezoning application online. The application includes instructions for finalizing a zoning change request, which includes an in-person visit to the Department of Planning during the open filing period. Planning staff will provide personal assistance as requested to individuals without Internet access.
Baltimore County’s Comprehensive Zoning Map Process occurs every four years, allowing Baltimore County property owners, businesses and community organizations the opportunity to petition the County Council to request a zoning change on a specific property. The resulting decisions have the potential to impact neighborhoods, businesses and residents throughout Baltimore County.
Land Preservation Commitment is State and National Model
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced today that the County’s land preservation program has been recognized for its achievements and recertified for three years, allowing the County to retain the lion’s share of local agricultural land transfer fees to invest in land preservation.
The State Rural Legacy Program has also awarded funding to two Baltimore County land trusts and Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation made easement offers to seven Baltimore County farms.
"Preserving rural land in Baltimore County continues to provide many benefits to the citizens of the County. From maintaining a source of local food, to preserving forests that enhance the water quality of our drinking water reservoirs, to reducing the cost of sprawl, Baltimore County remains a national leader in land preservation,” said Kamenetz.
Under Kamenetz, County Has Invested $9.7 Million, Preserved Nearly 5,000 Acres
The State recognized the success of the County’s land preservation strategy that combines restrictive zoning with a growth boundary and acquisition of easements. Since entering office, County Executive Kamenetz has maintained his commitment to land preservation with a total of 4,867 acres preserved in the past five years moving the County closer to its goal of 80,000 acres. For the past five years the County has preserved almost six acres for each acre converted to development.
In approving the County’s request for recertification, the Maryland Department of Planning recognized that even though it is the third most populous jurisdiction in Maryland, Baltimore County has set aside more than 135,000 acres – one third of the County – for agriculture, forestry and open space. Baltimore County has placed 62,828 acres under easement and is ranked first among counties for Maryland Environmental Trust donated easements, third for Rural Legacy and fourth for agricultural easements.
Only 2 Percent of Permit Requests in Protected Agricultural Areas Approved
Over the reporting period, Fiscal Year 2012 to 2014, the County approved only 2 percent of all new permits within the 135,000 acres designated as Agricultural Preservation Area. It retained its protective agricultural zoning and committed $9.7 million of county funds for land preservation during this period.
Carol West, Executive Director of Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation praised the County’s work saying, “The MALPF Board of Trustees and the Maryland Department of Planning were pleased to recertify Baltimore County for another three years. Recertification allows the County to retain more of their agricultural transfer taxes to be used for preservation in any of the many active programs within the County. They continue to demonstrate their commitment to the preservation of farmland and support of farmers in the County. They have committed more funds for the current acquisition than any other county.”
“I am very pleased that the County is partnering with the State to preserve farmland and open space — one of the best ways to protect our water quality,” said County Council Chair Cathy Bevins.
$3.8 Million in State Funding For Preservation of 1,000 Acres
Subject to Board of Public Works approval, the State Rural Legacy Program has awarded $1.1 million to two Baltimore County Land Trusts. These awards were out of a total of $10 million statewide, for which there were 26 applications. These land trusts will seek to preserve land as soon as the funding receives final approval. The Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation Board of Trustees approved an allocation of $2.63 million in state funds, and, with $1.3 million in County matching funds, they made offers to seven farms, subject to Board of Public Works and County Council approvals. Preservation from these two programs is expected to protect 1,000 acres of rural land in the County.
"We greatly appreciate the continued support by the State, County Executive and County Council for farmers seeking to permanently preserve their farmland," said Gail Ensor, Chairperson of the Baltimore County Agricultural Land Preservation Advisory Board. "Farming, and the many agriculture related industries, are an important part of the County's economy as well as a key component of the rural landscape.”
Land Preservation Has Moved to Promote Better Coordination
The County’s Land Preservation function has recently been relocated to the Department of Planning. This has created the opportunity to better integrate land preservation with land use planning. It has also provided the opportunity to make its programs more consistent with the County’s Historic Preservation program, which is also housed in Planning. “We are pleased to have the land preservation program in Planning where we can integrate many of its functions into rural planning. We are especially pleased to work with the dedicated Agricultural Land Preservation Advisory Board,” said Planning Director Andrea Van Arsdale.
Find Out How to Preserve Your Rural Land
Information is available on applying to donate or sell an easement.
Advances County’s 10-Year Plan to Prevent and Reduce Homelessness
Men caught in the cycle of homelessness will be much better able to work toward self-sufficiency thanks to Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz’s investment in a new $3.4 million shelter for homeless men on the campus of Spring Grove Hospital Center in Catonsville.
“The reality is, the homeless among us are not simply strangers down on their luck—they are somebody’s father, somebody’s sister, somebody’s child,” Kamenetz said. “The opening of this new site for the Westside Men’s Shelter represents a significant step forward in our 10-year Plan to Prevent and Reduce Homelessness.”
Kamenetz and nearly a hundred homeless service providers, advocates and clients celebrated the grand opening of the modern 154-bed, 15,000 square-foot building, which replaces an outdated facility and incorporates functional amenities to better help residents receive the services they need and work toward independent living. The facility is operated and staffed by the nonprofit Community Assistance Network.
About the New Westside Shelter
The new shelter is designed to address barriers to independent living that homeless men may encounter. It includes:
- a resource and conference room with computer stations to allow residents to search for employment and housing, as well as space to hold workshops and classes
- a large fenced and gated garden area in the back of the shelter in which staff and residents will plant and grow their own fruit and vegetables
- a social room with new furniture, bookcases, and a television
- a commercial kitchen with new appliances and a spacious dining room
- a sizeable laundry room
- and, an exam room to be used by Health Care for the Homeless and the Department of Health and Human Services, so that residents can get important health services on-site.
The shelter, designed by Rubeling and Associates and built by North Point Builders, incorporates many “green” features, qualifying it for LEED SILVER certification.
County to Break Ground this Fall on a New Shelter for Women and Families
In addition to this new shelter for men, the County plans to build a new $25 million, 80,000 square-foot Eastern Family Resource Center in Rosedale that will include:
- an enhanced shelter for women and families serving up to 250 people
- a transitional shelter program for women and families with a capacity of up to 38 people
- and, a new shelter for men with a capacity of up to 50 people.
The building, slated for completion in March of 2017, will house various Health Department functions that support shelter residents, and will also include expanded space for Health Care for the Homeless.
Homelessness in Baltimore County
In 2014, Baltimore County received more than 6,600 requests for shelter, representing more than 3,100 individual households. On any given night, more than 745 men, women and children are housed in homeless shelters or living on the streets and in encampments throughout Baltimore County.
“A Home for All,” Baltimore County’s 10-year Plan to Prevent and Reduce Homelessness in our communities, was created with input from a diverse group of more than 60 local and regional stakeholders from both public and private sectors. It includes seven key strategies that have proven to be effective in reducing homelessness.
The plan focuses on systemic changes, preventing homelessness where possible, and rapidly rehousing people in shelters and permanent and supportive housing. The plan uses relevant data and better leverages existing resources to move people toward independence.
County to Create Community Sports Fields at Former Shelter Site
The site of the former homeless shelter will be transformed into a $1.3 million recreational site featuring an artificial turf field, lights and open space for the Catonsville community on the grounds of Spring Grove Hospital Center. Construction on these sports fields is slated to begin next spring and be completed by the Fall of 2016.
“This modern new facility is an important step forward in the County’s comprehensive plan to address homelessness by targeting its root causes,” said 1st District Councilman Tom Quirk. “In the Catonsville community, we also eagerly await the new recreation fields that will be created on the site of the former shelter.”