Baltimore County has an Adequate Public Facilities law, which requires that developers provide 1,000 square feet of open space per dwelling unit, or alternatively to pay a fee to the county to help fund parks, trails, and other natural areas. However, loopholes in the current law allow developers to deduct from the fee:
- Parking islands, small strips of grass between sidewalks and curbs, and other similar small areas of green that don’t provide any significant natural, recreational, or community benefit, and
- Private amenities like rooftop gardens and pickleball courts that are not open to the public.
Neighborspace of Baltimore County estimates that the parking island exemption alone has cost the county over $1 million in fees.
Bill 37-19 would remove these exemptions, thus requiring developers to provide a more significant green space public benefit.
Green space is not just nice to have; it’s also essential to our health and the health of the planet. Study after study has shown the health benefits of being outdoors in nature, even in a small park. It can reduce your stress levels, improve mood, and boost your immune system. Open space also encourages physical activity, with its well-known health benefits.
Green space also can help to address the climate crisis. Trees and other green plants absorb carbon from the atmosphere, and scientists say that planting trees is one of the best things we can do to combat climate change. And while a small park in Baltimore County won’t even be a tiny fraction of the billions of trees needed to avert the worst of the climate crisis, every little bit helps. And parks and other green space can help mitigate the effects of the climate crisis, such as absorbing storm runoff and reducing heat islands. And even pop-up parks can improve biodiversity.
How you can help:
- Contact your council member to ask them to support Bill 37-19. You can look up your council member here or email email@example.com
- Attend the County Council work session on August 27 at 2pm and testify in support of Bill 37-19.
For more information, see this Neighborspace of Baltimore County webpage.