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Baltimore County Listening Sessions, March 9 and April 10, 2018

What We Heard in Response

Regionalism and Regional Planning  ♦ Mapping Support and Data ♦ Economic Development ♦ Housing ♦ Infrastructure Community Engagement and Volunteerism ♦ Transportation  ♦ EnvironmentCommunity ♦ Funding ♦ Neighboring Jurisdictions ♦ Communication ♦ State Agencies ♦ Technical Assistance ♦ Planning ♦ General

The comments below represent the statements or points of view of one or more individuals who participated in the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) “A Better Maryland” Development Plan Listening Sessions. These comments do not represent any official position or policy of MDP or any other State agency, nor do they represent any official position or policy of any local jurisdiction or local planning agency.

Regionalism and Regional Planning

Development in Harford County has created road impacts on the county roads

Belair Road, Philadelphia Road, Route 40 have become much more congested due to Harford County development

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Mapping Support and Data

Baltimore Metropolitan Council profile data doesn’t capture local community level disparities that a local government (or sub-county level) needs in order to address local issues

Getting a list of nursing homes is difficult to collect. Can use help in collecting this type of data?

It is difficult tracking the number of jobs in the county and sub-areas

It would be a good idea for the State Data Center to post socio-economic data from all State agencies on its web site

The Data Center should compile information by smaller geographic areas than census tracts

Provide the flexibility in data collection and analysis for the local governments in order to provide data for self-defined areas, including information such as:

Provide vital statistics, statistics on jobs and businesses

Information on affordable housing opportunity areas

DLLR data on foreclosures

Need foreclosure data and analysis at the local community level. DLLR data is not fine-grained enough

Lower cost access to the Multiple List Service (MLS) and Costar data on real property would be helpful for the county to do its own analysis

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Economic Development

There is pressure to rezone industrial land to allow more mixed-use development

Zoning categories could be broadened to include more mixed uses

Need help to assess what types of jobs are coming and how they can be accommodated

Last economic study done in the County in 2012. County needs the following:

A statewide study on “jobs of the future,” which looks high school and college education requirements and numbers of potential job opportunities

An assessment of targeted industries, which are growing etc

Workforce training for the future, particularly in non-college / occupational training

County has 3 workforce centers

There is a shortage of truck drivers in the area

Need for certification of middle skill workers, don’t need full degree just specific training programs with certificates

County has good relationship with DLLR and has been very pleased with the changes that they implemented in last 2 years

The waterfront is the East Side’s greatest asset, not only environmentally but also economically –  marine trades, boating, fishing, crabbing etc

The old Bethlehem Steel area is being redeveloped by Tradepoint Atlantic and will be bringing in jobs. With the jobs, we will get traffic. With all the County and State support, still nothing has been done about fixing the Broening Highway/Key Bridge intersection to help improve traffic flow and prevent traffic going through the residential neighborhoods

East side communities were built around major manufacturing employers who have either left or greatly reduced their workforce. This has led to depressed housing values and need for work force development

The economy and jobs are why people migrated to Baltimore County in the first place, and the loss of these jobs has driven this area down, especially Middle River and Essex

There is no local economic base, and we fear the jobs are gone forever

One sign that the economy is down is that the average age of car brought into an auto collision repair shop has gone up (example from shop owner)

New jobs are lower paying and less sustainable

Economy drives everything else

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Housing

County has a challenge, as does most of central Maryland, to provide enough affordable housing

County is under a voluntary compliance agreement

DHCD should help the counties address this issue. The current point system used to rank affordable housing candidate projects sometimes conflicts with local zoning and land use regulations

Right now, the County is using CDBG to address the housing affordability problem

In many parts of the County the housing stock is aging and not being maintained

Frequently, because sales prices are low, the housing is converted to rental which can lead to further decline in the community

Lower income homes are in need of repair

There are more mega mansions along the shore, with less affluent housing in the interior of the County

A Better Maryland needs to address housing reinvestment

Landlords are buying up homes and converting them to rentals, which isn’t helping the housing market

Renters are not getting the lead paint certification

People buying homes in the County are less affluent

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Infrastructure

Older infrastructure is a collective challenge all parts of the State must face

The State could help with the creation/collection of an information center to look at adequate public facilities ordinances (APFO’s)

The County is struggling with how to look at the school APFO situation. The County does not have an overall plan on how to address schools and school overcrowding

There is question of whether the formulas are correct in determining capacity in our schools

Renewable energy and commercial solar energy systems need more organizational structure and support

Existing impervious surfaces would be good for the placement of solar facilities, McCormick for example

Slow down on solar, we are a small state

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Community Engagement and Volunteerism

The County and State need to support local groups in hiring staff to run programs and get funding. The County needs to do more to support these neighborhood corporations

Volunteer time is compromised for those having to look after aging parents

Individual citizen action and volunteerism drive positive change in our community

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Transportation

There is a need for County and State to collaborate on road projects throughout the county. Sometimes it has worked and sometimes it hasn’t

The County and the State were supportive of the Paragon Outlet Mall project

The project failed because of public concerns about traffic generated by the proposed project

The State and County should have improved the intersection at Route 7 and Route 43 as a full intersection to support economic development

The County approved a 350-unit multi-family development, at the intersection of Cowenton Road and Route 7. The State did not provide any assistance to help improve this intersection

The County has been supportive of Tradepoint Atlantic which the State has also supported

However, traffic will have to go through existing communities because the intersection at the Key Bridge and Broening Highway has not been fully improved. This needs to be completed by the State

All great metropolitan areas have good public transportation systems. The Baltimore region needs better transit options

Baltimore Link extended bus service out Liberty Road and was supported by Baltimore County. Although the service was extended, benches and shelters were not constructed along with the service, such as on the east side of Liberty Road at Marriotsville Road, which has in turn negatively impacted the effectiveness of the transit expansion

The County has a great transportation network – good roads, MARC, Light Rail, METRO, Buses, and Martins Airport

I-695 is important and helps County population get anywhere very quickly

A Better Maryland needs to work to enhance public transportation, such as the Red Line and other similar options. State has the most control over transit development

Need more coordinated mass transit options

State needs to better plan for Wilson Point. Rd. It is currently tearing it up the road just after the streetscaping work was done

There is a need for more walking and biking opportunities throughout the state and particularly in Baltimore County

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Environment

The Patapsco State Park on the west side of the County is an incredible asset

Water quality is a big issue with public sewer and septic systems

On the East Side of the County, the health of the environment can be directly tied to employment, housing, and increased income of residents who want to live on the water

There is an ongoing sewer leak on the Herring Run and it won’t be fixed until a major project is undertaken. In the meantime, some sort of temporary fix needs to be put in place

Areas on septic are a challenge to our water quality

Baltimore County Council has failed in land preservation

Tree planting is prevalent and it assists with stream cleanup

The health of our reservoirs is a problem that the State should address

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Community

Baltimore County is filing for a Sustainable Communities designation for Essex. (Designation received by Smart Growth Subcabinet on May 16, 2018.)

County Council has failed some communities

Community plans are no longer done;

Funding of projects is not evenly distributed, so volunteers are left to do things for themselves

Post WWII growth needs reinvestment and new infrastructure

Trash has been and continues to be a big problem. The State should develop a public relations campaign on trash

Opioids are continuing to be problem in the County

Methadone clinics and group homes clustered in certain areas are harmful to the surrounding residential neighborhood and can be destabilizing

Placement of methadone clinics and group homes needs to be better coordinated with the surrounding uses and support infrastructure, near bus routes

These uses should be dispersed throughout the County

The State should develop a strategic plan for the placement of these types of uses

Marinas help local groups clean up. If businesses stop helping it would be a big problem

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Funding

Local government revenues should be equally distributed

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Neighboring Jurisdictions

A Better Maryland should address water and sewer shared systems between jurisdictions. The facilities are aging, with frequent breaks and backups

Need for regional and State investment

The Fallsway and Herring Run facilities are in dire need of upgrades and repair

The Conowingo Dam needs to be addressed by all states involved. The silting is the worst it has been since Hurricane Agnes in 1972, with discolored water as far south as the Potomac River. It took over 3 years to recover from Agnes

Common sense should prevail over dredging studies

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Communication

Collaboration between State, local government and communities is critical to assure that people are informed and that costly mistakes can be avoided

Example#1 – State paved road and 2 years later the County is tearing it up for sewer. State responded that County had not told them at the time that the work was to be done or the State would have held up the project

Example #2 – The County is struggling with inspecting rental units and the State regulates lead abatement. These two approvals should be coordinated so that when a rental application is made both the State and County know what the other is doing

State does not effectively communicate with the local authority using the latest electronic telecommunication systems

Our communities don’t always know about upcoming projects, such as those conducted by SHA

Town hall meetings should be in various communities, not always Towson

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State Agencies

County has been working on Sustainable Community (SC) designations with DHCD

The SC applications and renewal process is cumbersome

Having difficulty getting down to project level that can be implemented

Some of the application questions don’t really apply

Getting a local group, such as a community development corporation (CDC) to run the program has been difficult

County does not have a structure to support CDC’s

County Planning is only one that does the application and the implementation

The Sustainable Community designated areas often rely on State agencies for implementation. There are also problems outside of designated Sustainable Communities

SHA improvements are needed for many roads – inside and outside of designated Sustainable Communities

Recognizing there is heavy reliance on State agencies for funding the implementation, there is a concern how Sustainable Community requests will be balanced with other State projects

Concerns expressed regarding state funding availability for the County’s own revitalization areas outside of the Sustainable Communities areas?

Different agencies have different designations and funding priorities

Using Essex as an example. When we develop proposed projects, it is uncertain how or if these projects will be eligible for State funding

Concerns expressed regarding the chance for funding a SHA streetscape project

Need to let locals know what the realistic expectations of funding are

There is a need to understand the what parameters would be for projects, what are the funding opportunities, and give locals timely feedback – what projects will and won’t be funded

Maryland did award $800,000 to Dundalk for community investments

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Technical Assistance

The County is supportive of renewable energy. Solar fields over parking lots, buildings etc. is great. Solar fields in rural areas is taking up valuable farmland. The State should provide technical assistance on how these should be located and sited

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Planning

The County needs to conduct more community plans and planning

Existing plans are out of date and no new plans have been started

Community plans bring consensus and make it easier to implement specific projects

County used to support community plans more than it currently does. One hasn’t been completed in 7-8 years, and there is no money to implement them

County code enforcement is short staffed

The Master Plan doesn’t have any teeth, and the developers do whatever they want

Working with the Department of Housing and Community Development on the Sustainable Community Action Plan for Essex has been a very good thing

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General

Assets

Essex community, which is surrounded by water

Recreation opportunities

Economic engines – marinas, boaters, restaurants, fisherman, crabbers

The Marine Trades Association of Baltimore County’s feasibility study estimated this as a $280 million industry

Waterfront is a big deal

Port of Baltimore

Tradepoint Atlantic

Prevalent agriculture in Northern part of the County

High school involvement and good schools

Land preservation

Impact of renewable energy

Scenic Byways

Relatively affluent and educated population

Patapsco Valley Park

Challenges

Aging housing stock

Less affordable housing

Less desirable schools

Leapfrog effect – people leaving the County to live in Harford County and Pennsylvania

Loss of jobs from Bethlehem Steel, Eastern Steel, and General Motors

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