Changes are coming to your neighborhood, even if they’re flying under the radar. If citizens are willing to read, pay attention and get involved in municipal affairs, then they will not be blindsided or disappointed by development that doesn’t benefit their community. Smart Growth America has a new 102-page booklet, Choosing Our Community’s Future: A Citizen’s Guide to Getting the Most Out of New Development, which will make it easier for residents to do just this. It covers the essentials for citizens concerned about local development.
The guide is easy to read, not bogged down with unnecessary information or inapplicable examples. The first two chapters cover basic principles of smart growth, key development phrases and the planning and zoning processes. These are the practical tools that readers will recognize as indispensable for speaking knowledgeably and effectively with planners and developers.
The remaining chapters of the booklet explains common issues that many Baltimore City residents will recognize. For instance, the booklet covers Planned Unit Development (PUD) which is relevant to Remington residents concerned about the proposed 25th Street Station PUD. The sections on affordable housing, property values and market demand, and environmental effects of development are applicable, for example, to recent developments in Westport and Dundalk.
A successful developer held to account by local government values the influence, knowledge and input of residents. As County Councilman John Olszewski said to a developer in a Baltimore Sun article about devleopment in Dundalk: “It doesn’t make sense unless you gauge community support.” Use Smart Growth America’s guide and get involved!