City zoning update will benefit all

November 22, 2012

Baltimore and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake are to be commended for the revisions to the city's zoning code ("Transforming Baltimore," Nov. 16). The new, simpler code is a departure from the Euclidean zoning (named for a landmark Supreme Court zoning decision) that Baltimore had for 80 years and will better reflect market realities. The new waterfront, maritime, transit, transportation, hospital and campus districts recognize the unique physical and design characteristics of these areas.

To the extent that a more nimble, market-oriented zoning code can help Baltimore achieve the mayor's goal to add 10,000 families, that's beneficial to all. Promoting redevelopment and infill development — not just in Baltimore, but in places like Cambridge, Cumberland, Waldorf and Montgomery and Prince George's counties — can ultimately reduce the loss of some 400,000 acres of farmland and forest, protect jobs tied to agribusiness and to a healthy Chesapeake Bay and stem rising infrastructure costs.

Baltimore's new zoning code isn't just vital news to city residents. It has larger repercussions for the future well-being of a state projected to grow by 1 million people by 2035.

Richard Eberhart Hall, Baltimore

The writer is Maryland secretary of planning.

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