Codes play catch-up with sustainable design
Zoning and development codes are an important but under-recognized factor in environmental planning and design. Outdated or restrictive codes may hinder the use of innovative site design and stormwater management approaches, even if these approaches are supported by other public and private stakeholders in the design community. Many local jurisdictions, including Baltimore City, are in the process of updating their codes. In the meantime, existing codes can be an obstacle to innovative designs. Yesterday’s Baltimore Sun article about one woman’s quest to have a wood chip driveway is a good example.
Baltimore’s new zoning code will have a big impact on the city’s aspirations to be cleaner and greener over the coming decades. The code revision process is a great opportunity for citizen involvement. One key way to be involved is to attend public meetings and provide feedback on sections of the code that affect environmental and sustainability issues. You can also make your voice heard earlier in the process by contacting city agencies such as the Department of Planning, Office of Sustainability, and the City Solicitor to bring specific concerns to their attention.
If you’re interested in being included in mailing lists about upcoming zoning rewrite meetings in Baltimore, please contact Laurie Feinberg. For more information, visit the websites for the Department of Planning and TransForm Baltimore. The draft codes are scheduled to be released to the public in late February.
Phil Jones, EIT, Water Resources Engineer
Amelia Greiner, Communications Specialist
Nick Lindow, PhD, LEED AP