At the end of December, Mayor Brandon Scott signed into law City Council Bill 21-0113, which greatly expands the available real estate for makers in Baltimore City. Specifically, the bill makes the uses Food Processing: Light and Art Studio: Industrial permitted uses in all commercial zones throughout the city. The maps below illustrate the expanded footprint for these activities.
This legislation makes more buildings in Baltimore available for small manufacturers. The great majority of businesses in the MIB network fit into these two land use categories (see their definitions below). Previously, these uses were only allowed in industrially zoned areas, or they required permission from the City Council to take place in commercial zones (a lengthy and sometimes costly process). Now, businesses that fit into these use categories can operate in commercial zones by right, no additional permissions needed.
What this means for Baltimore neighborhoods:
Many of Baltimore’s commercial corridors struggle with persistent vacancy. But the buildings in these corridors are often ideally suited for small-scale manufacturing paired with light retail (MIB members KSM Candle Co and Oyin Handmade are great examples of this hybrid approach). Now, maker companies seeking production space can access the available, and often below-market-rate properties in these corridors, thereby helping to reduce vacancy and bring vitality back to these neighborhoods.
These zoning changes were initially proposed in the report Small Scale Manufacturing & Place Based Economic Development: Baltimore, MD authored by Smart Growth America in 2019. We at Made In Baltimore are thrilled that our colleagues at the Baltimore City Department of Planning saw fit to include them in this zoning amendment legislation, and grateful for the support for the amendments from our Mayor and City Council. We look forward to seeing your businesses grow and thrive here in Baltimore City as a result!
Arts studio: Industrial means a studio for artisan-related crafts, such as small-scale metalworking, glassblowing, furniture making, pottery, leathercraft, and similar activities.
Food processing: Light means an establishment for preparing, processing, canning, or packaging food and beverage products, where all these activities are within an enclosed structure and create no outside impacts.