Baltimore County Now
Baltimore County Department of Planning
“Where do baby boomers and millenials want to live?,” Mr. Lee Sobel asked the Baltimore County Planning Board at a recent meeting. Millenials, aged 25-34, with college degrees and technical skills, make up a critical segment of the 21st century workforce. Their baby boomer parents aged 48-67 have the spending power that supports local businesses. Together, they make up half of the U.S. population.
They want to live and work in walkable, bikeable, “smart growth” communities, Mr. Sobel said. But the kinds of communities favored by these two groups are not sufficient to meet demand, according to Mr. Sobel.
Mr. Sobel should know. He is a real estate development and finance analyst at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Sustainable Communities.
Smart growth concentrates development where there is public infrastructure, conserving environmental resources and allowing public dollars to be used more efficiently. This development strategy increases a community’s competitiveness by attracting investment that boosts the local economy.
Baltimore County is a national leader in smart growth, having adopted these basic planning principles with its first master plan in the early 1980s. Residents of Baltimore County benefit from beautiful, open spaces and farms north of the Beltway, balanced by neighborhoods near shopping, schools and recreation in the more densely developed areas of the County. We see smart growth in White Marsh and Owings Mills, the County’s two designated growth areas. We see smart growth in Towson, where 1,500 new luxury apartments, new offices, an $85 million entertainment center already are attracting millenials and baby boomers to downtown.
New smart development concepts continue to come to the County. St. John Properties is developing Greenleigh at Crossroads, a $100 million project that will be Baltimore County's first major Town Center designed around the principles of "new urbanism." The 200-acre development in Middle River will include mid-rise Class "A" office buildings designed to satisfy the needs of large corporate users; a mix of 1,700 detached single family, town homes, multi-family and condos to address the need for quality housing; a network of open spaces and park lands to assure sustainable and environment-friendly development; and a coordinated streetscape that creates a pedestrian-friendly and connected community in the style of traditional neighborhood development. Greenleigh at Crossroads is the latest section to be developed in Baltimore Crossroads, a 1,000 acre mixed-use business community on Maryland Route 43 near Interstate 95 in White Marsh/Middle River.
Walkable? Yes. Bikeable? Yes. Smart growth? Yes.
We think Mr. Sobel would approve.