The City Council unanimously approved yesterday an urban renewal district for a portion of Charles Village, bringing an end to an issue that had divided residents of the North Baltimore neighborhood.
The bill - expected to be signed by Mayor Martin O'Malley - designates a zone centering on the commercial corner of Charles and 25th streets and surrounding blocks lined with retail and residential buildings.
The district runs roughly from 22nd Street to 27th Street, and from Calvert Street to Howard Street - except for a few properties on the latter's west side. The ordinance would govern the future uses of buildings and also the preservation of structures with historic value.
All current dwellings, stores, offices and homes would be exempt from the measure, Dan Klocke, director of the Charles Village Community Benefits District, said during the council meeting.
"This is for the future," Klocke said in an interview, "as a guideline for investment and preservation."
A recently established group on the neighborhood's north side, Peabody Heights Homeowners Alliance, objected vehemently to creating an urban renewal district, saying that it would diminish the value of the community's Victorian houses.
Businesses that would have to seek zoning board approval to set up shop in the district include check-cashing outlets, hotels and motels, taverns and commercial blood donor centers.
Also last night, the council gave the O'Malley administration the power to condemn and acquire 25 properties on the west side of downtown as part of a broad effort to revitalize the area.