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OFFICIALS' PLAN FOR LOCUST POINT COULD INCREASE DEVELOPMENT

5.10.2004
The Baltimore Sun

City planners unveiled a master plan for Locust Point recently that would allow the number of residences on the South Baltimore peninsula to increase by about 75 percent.

Locust Point, which includes Fort McHenry, has about 1,100 rowhouses. The neighborhood blueprint that city planning Director Otis Rolley III presented to the Locust Point Civic Association on May 5 would allow for the construction of 820 units. Previously, the planners had said that Locust Point could accommodate 565 additional homes.

The master plan must still be adopted by the Planning Commission.

Locust Point, traditionally a community of longshoremen and blue- collar workers, is undergoing a rapid metamorphosis. Dozens of new homes, some of them selling for up to $360,000, have been constructed; at least 200 more are in planning stages.
State Sen. George W. Della Jr., a Baltimore Democrat, called the proposed master plan "faulty." He criticized its traffic estimates as being too low. He also said that if Key Highway is not extended, "we have a big-time problem."

A Key Highway extension to Locust Point has been talked about for decades to alleviate traffic on Fort Avenue, the sole access road.

The new projection for how many homes can be built on Locust Point is part of a master plan that would rezone all industrial land for residential uses in a 55-acre area encircled by railroad tracks. That loop - between Lowman Street on the west and Reynolds Street on the east - contains most of the community's homes.

But inside the same loop are also a wide variety of commercial properties including warehouses and ship service firms. Although land being used for those business purposes could be converted to residential zoning, it could also remain in use for business uses indefinitely.

The master plan's R8 zoning category would allow townhouse developments with a 35-foot height limit, and a builder using the recommended planned unit development approach - in which multiple uses are encouraged - could construct up to 58 houses an acre under the city's zoning code. All new houses are required to have at least two off-street parking spaces.

The plan would impose maritime industrial zoning on remaining businesses outside the loop, making their conversion to other uses more difficult.



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