The Industrial Land Study addresses issues related to changing land use patterns in the city's industrial areas and makes recommendations on how zoning and land use regulations could respond to those changes.
With limited industrial land, the city is periodically faced with proposals to change industrial zoning to non-industrial use. These proposals have raised questions about the scarcity of land resources and their allocation among competing uses.
"This report is progressive," said Brodie."The city will be evaluating development proposals in the context of well-grounded and balanced city-wide policies."
Over a year ago, BDC hired Bay Area Economics, an Annapolis-based consulting firm with broad experience in economic development and planning issues, to lead a team of six consultants in carrying out the study. They were charged with evaluating the existing supply of industrial land; estimating the future demand and need for industrial land; reviewing the history of changes of use in the city; evaluating the fiscal implications of change of use; identifying policy tools; recommending an approach for deciding future changes of use; and testing the proposed approach on specific areas and sites.
The long-term viability of industry in the city depends on having appropriate and competitive sites with conditions that allow industry to operate--creating new jobs and income for the local economy. The study highlights the city's current land development initiatives to increase the supply of marketable industrial sites such as Carroll-Camden, West Baltimore TIF (tax increment financing) District, Fairfield and Hollander Ridge; as well as policy initiatives geared toward improving the city's capacity to redevelop industrial land such as brownfields, TIF's and eminent domain powers.
"This report puts the city in the position of being able to make rational decisions on change-of-use;" said Rolley. "It adds the long-term perspective and balance that is needed to make these difficult decisions."
To facilitate public comment, the Planning Department and BDC will, in the next month, attend any community meetings on request, hold one city-wide public meeting, put the study in PDF form on BDC's website, and of course, are open to receive written comments from any individual or group.
Comments should be sent to Otis Rolley, Director, Baltimore City Department of Planning, 417 E. Fayette Street, 8th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202, or to Jay Brodie, President, Baltimore Development Corporation, 36 S. Charles Street, Suite 1600, Baltimore, MD 21201.