The Compass - April eNews from the Baltimore Dept of Planning

Compass Logo with Harbor Panarama in Background
The Compass is a monthly eNewsletter of the Baltimore City Department of Planning.

April, 2012

A Message from the Director…
Baltimore’s harbor is an important part of what makes Baltimore a wonderful place to live, work and play. 
For decades, our world-famous waterfront has been a source of pride for residents and a recreational asset that connects people with our industrial heritage, our rich array of city neighborhoods, and of course with the water itself.
Baltimore benefits from the harbor's ability to draw regional, national and international tourists, supporting one of the largest sectors of the city economy.
The Maritime Master Plan (MMP) is a policy guide for all activities in, on, or above the waters of the harbor.  It helps balance the needs of industrial and commercial shipping, with the needs of recreational users to create a safe and vibrant mix of activity throughout the waterfront.
I am therefore pleased to share with you a summary of the recently adopted Maritime Master Plan, a plan for the waters of Baltimore’s harbor. 

Thomas J. Stosur, Director

Did You Know...

April is American City Quality Month!  This annual celebration seeks to raise public awareness and support planning and action for better sustainable, livable and inclusive communities.
For more information about American City Quality Month, click here.
Image of Cargo Ship at Domino Sugar
For a copy of the Maritime Master Plan, click here.
To Download Previous Editions of The Compass, click here.
To See a Calendar of Upcoming Planning Department Events and Public Hearings, click here.

Maritime Master Plan

A Plan for the Waters of Baltimore's Harbor

The Maritime Master Plan is a document that establishes policies for the orderly development of recreational boating in the harbor, while minimizing the potential for conflicts between commercial and recreational vessels. It identifies specific locations for recreational marinas, including type, size and land area. It also addresses harbor uses such as kayaks, water taxies and excursion vessels.  The plan includes policies governing navigational safety in the harbor and policies for proposed changes to pier-head lines (a geographic limit to how far structures, piers or docks can extend into the public waterway). The Maritime Master Plan is meant to be both a policy guide for future decision making related to the harbor and a legal document which identifies the location of approved marinas and navigational safety areas.
Throughout 2011, in consultation with a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), the Department of Planning reviewed existing conditions at the harbor using interviews with knowledgeable parties, past development records and field observation. With this information, the objectives and strategies of the plan have been updated and reorganized to reflect current conditions in the harbor. The overall Goal and Objectives, however, have been retained.
Sunrise over Canton Marina
MMP Goal:
To provide a framework for the safe and environmentally responsible management of competing interests in Baltimore’s harbor in order to control growth of the recreational boating industry while protecting the integrity and growth of commercial shipping and industry in the Port of Baltimore.
The comprehensive program contained in the MMP plan recognizes that although control of marina development is a critical component of preserving safety and navigational open space, many other factors also need to be considered in the interest of managing competing activities and interests within the harbor. 
During the latest plan update, ten projects or proposals were submitted to the City for consideration as amendments to the Maritime Master Plan. These proposed amendments, the TAC’s recommendations, and those approved by the Planning Commission are outlined below:
Table Showing List of Proposals
The TAC also implemented an operational change, that would allow the Maritime Master Plan to be reviewed and amendments will be considered on an annual basis by the TAC.  If the TAC recommends or approves major amendments during these annual reviews, to be held each November, those amendments will be presented to the Planning Commission for adoption. The goal of this annual review is to ensure that this plan remains current, and can be used as a guiding document for all relevant projects and proposals.  In addition, the establishment of an annual review process will ensure that provisions of the Maritime Master Plan will stay in compliance with the City of Baltimore Comprehensive Master Plan.
For more information about the Maritime Master Plan, please contact Jill Lemke, economic development planner in Research and Strategic Planning at or 410-396-1440.
Water Taxi Image