Marks: Making the Development Process More Community-Friendly

One of the most common complaints from community leaders is that the development
process seems inaccessible to the public. That’s why three County Councilmembers
are joining with me to reform an important phase of the development process: the
Community Input Meeting.

A Community Input Meeting occurs at the beginning of the development process for a
new housing project. Under the current law, a CIM must be held in the “vicinity” of a
proposed project, or it can be held in Towson if no space is available.

While most developers hold CIMs at convenient locations, there have been several
situations where the term “vicinity” is liberally interpreted. I can recall a Community
Input Meeting for a Perry Hall project that was held at the Rosedale library. More
recently, the CIM for a Carney-based development was scheduled for the Perry Hall
library. In both cases, there were closer locations.

I have sponsored legislation that tries to change this. Under the proposed legislation,
priority must be given for a Community Input Meeting to be within a certain mile radius
of a proposed development. Within the Urban-Rural Demarcation Line—the most
urbanized part of Baltimore County—the distance is three miles. Outside the Urban-
Rural Demarcation Line, the distance is eight miles.

The distance requirements were determined after an analysis by the County Auditor’s
staff showed that a school or library— was located within a certain distance of every
point in the county—three miles within the URDL and eight miles beyond the URDL.

The legislation also increases the options for where a CIM may be held. Typically,
Community Input Meetings are held at schools and libraries. This legislation expands
the list of locations to include houses of worship, community centers, and other places of

I am very happy that three of my colleagues are sponsoring this bill—Councilwoman
Vicki Almond, Councilman Todd Huff, and Councilman Tom Quirk. This is a
bipartisan bill that will hopefully make the development process more convenient to all
Baltimore Countians.

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