Baltimore Planning Commission Approves Update to Zoning Code

CPHA intern Jason Robertson discusses the importance of reducing alcohol outlet density with Mayor Rawlings-Blake as she signs a letter of support for the TransForm Baltimore bill. Over 30 other Citizens including police officers voiced their concerns and wrote letters of support to send their  City Council Members.

CPHA intern Jason Robertson discusses the importance of reducing alcohol outlet density with Mayor Rawlings-Blake as she signs a letter of support for the TransForm Baltimore bill. Over 30 other Citizens including police officers voiced their concerns and wrote letters of support to send their City Council Members.

On March 22, the update to Baltimore’s 40-year-old zoning code was approved by the Baltimore Planning Commission. The law also includes maps, diagrams and charts for quick examination and is intended to make Baltimore’s zoning more understandable.

The commission held more than a half-dozen public meetings across the city within the past year in order to get the opinions of residents and business owners about the proposed changes. Two of those hearings dealt solely with liquor store zoning. Community input was critical to the planning commission’s recommendation, particularly in regard to the portion of the Bill that intends to reduce alcohol outlet density.

There are roughly 1,300 active liquor licenses in Baltimore, and the zoning rewrite prohibits about 100 of these stores, only those packaged good stores that are located on residential streets,  from selling alcohol. The majority of the commissioners noted that these stores contribute to poor health and violence when making their decision.

The legislation gives these liquor stores a two-year period to comply to the residential zoning that surrounds them and phase out the sale of liquor. The commission noted the opportunity for neighborhood necessities, like healthy groceries, to be sold in these spaces. The Bill also prohibits new liquor stores from locating within 300 feet of existing liquor stores and requires “tavern” licenses to comply with their “tavern” license and sell primarily for on-site liquor consumption.

CPHA supports this decision as the Bill supports a healthy, inclusive Baltimore.

The Bill now moves to City Council with the first hearing schedule for April 3.

For more information on the coming hearing, click here.

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Manyi Abangma

Manyi Abangma

This article was written by Manyi Abangma and edited by Michael Snidal. Click here to meet our writing team.
Manyi Abangma

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