Business, Politics

Baltimore County releases draft Master Plan 2030 for public comment

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TOWSON, MD — Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski this week released the draft Master Plan 2030, an aspirational planning document intended to guide the County Executive, the County Council, and County departments in promoting responsible development in an equitable and environmentally sensitive manner throughout the next decade and beyond, for public review and comment.

The public will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the draft Master Plan until Friday, April 14, and may submit feedback through an online comment form. The final Master Plan 2030 will be released following completion of the public comment period.

“Master Plan 2030 establishes a vision and sets important priorities for our rapidly growing, diverse communities and maps out a better, more equitable and more sustainable Baltimore County,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “I thank everyone who participated in this public interactive planning process—including our team from the Department of Planning—and am confident the final plan will reflect the vision and needs of everyone who lives, works and visits Baltimore County.”

The plan released this week represents the culmination of a two-year master-planning process which began in spring 2021 and included community outreach and public input phases, recommendations from local experts, stakeholders and County agencies, as well as, deliberation and coordination among numerous County agencies and Department of Planning staff. More than 50 community meetings were held with approximately 1,000 attendees and 4,000 comments and suggestions.

“The Master Plan is a critical statement about the direction for Baltimore County over the next decade. It recognizes how the County has changed and how, going forward, we need new approaches to ensure that our growth and development are equitable and address the needs of our residents.”

Using “Sustaining Places: Best Practices for Comprehensive Plans,” published by the American Planning Association (APA) as a guide, the Department of Planning developed a framework that intends to create “livable, healthy communities in harmony with nature—communities that have resilient economies, social equity, and strong regional ties.” In addition to using the Sustaining Places report as a guide, the Department of Planning ensured Master Plan 2030 included four key building blocks:

  • A focus on preparing for the future needs of Baltimore County
  • Incorporating best planning practices.
  • Providing clear implementation guidelines and benchmarks.
  • Creating a “living” document that will evolve throughout the years.

Master Plan 2030 is based on a “systems approach,” with three interwoven themes and six guiding principles. Three interwoven themes in Master Plan 2030 are equity, sustainability and vibrant communities. These themes run throughout the plan elements, influencing the goals and actions that are found in the Master Plan 2030 vision framework:

  • Equity: Remaining inclusive in decision making, ensuring equitable distribution of resources and creating opportunity for all.
  • Sustainability: Ensuring the long-term sustainability of the County’s public and internal government infrastructure and safeguarding the County’s ecology and climate.
  • Vibrant communities: Ensuring all residents have access to high-quality, accessible and affordable housing, cultural and recreational opportunities in safe communities while promoting responsible economic development.

Six guiding principles, identified in “Sustaining Places: Best Practices for Comprehensive Plans” published by the APA, reinforce Baltimore County’s Vision for 2030 and serve as this Plan’s overall goals: livable built environment, harmony with nature, resilient economy, responsible regionalism, inclusive planning and healthy community. These principles express and reinforce the major concerns Master Plan 2030 seeks to address.

The draft plan and accompanying background documents are available for public review on the Master Plan 2030 website. Residents are encouraged to provide feedback via the online comment form on the website through April 14, 2023.

Public input will be considered and incorporated into a final plan, which is expected to be presented to the Baltimore County Planning Board in May 2023, before being submitted to the County Council for its consideration and anticipated final adoption in the summer of 2023.

The draft Master Plan 2030 is available online here.

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