According to a new reporta decade of Maryland “Smart Growth” has failed. Joel McCord, of WYPR, explained in a broadcast today that under Maryland’s Smart Growth laws,
As a result of strong community opposition and a Baltimore City Council vote of “NO” to overrule district zoning, the Keswick Multi-Care Center plans in Roland Park have been scrapped. The Baltimore Country Club, who owns the land, had planned to use funds from the sale of the property to improve its clubhouse. Relieved Roland Park residents are hoping to purchase the land from the Baltimore Country Club and preserve the area’s green space.
To read the full article in the Baltimore Sun: CLICK HERE.
The Baltimore City Council voted unanimously on March 2, 2009 to adopt the Baltimore Sustainability Plan. Now a city ordinance, the plan is supposed guide future legislation. In addition to being a prescription for Baltimore lawmaking, the plan promises accountability through annual progress reports.
Baltidome encourages you to be a sustainability watchdog and keep your eye on Baltimore City Council’s progress. The plan is 57 pages long. It includes numerous objectives, such as creating a brand for Baltimore’s sustainability initiative and promoting Baltimore as a green city. To help you focus on the fundamental objectives (and so you don’t have to read the whole darn thing!), Baltidome highlights some key goals from the plan:
Goal: Eliminate Litter
-Implement a pilot program of recycling bins at the Inner Harbor.
-Place an additional 1050 trashcans at key locations around the city.
-Provide each residence with a large municipal lidded trashcan.
-Penalize citizens who do not place their trash in cans.
Goal: Reduce Baltimore’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 15% by 2015
-Create a Climate Action Plan and implement this plan.
Goal: Reduce Baltimore’s Energy Use by 15% by 2015
-Require energy efficiency building standards for projects over 10,000sq ft.
-Use “methane-capture technology” to create renewable power at the city’s wastewater treatment facilities.
-Mandate efficiency upgrades to homes at point of sale.
Goal: Transform Baltimore’s 30,000 Vacant Lots From A Liability To An Asset.
-Create a Land Trust for the city owned spaces.
-The Land Trust would create measures encouraging communities to utilize vacant lots for recreation, gardening and other community enhancing projects.
-Levy a fee on property owners who do not maintain their vacant property.
Goal: Double Baltimore’s Tree Canopy by 2037
-Increase tree plantings throughout the city through Baltimore’s Tree Baltimore Program.
(To learn more about Tree Baltimore on Baltidome, CLICK HERE)
Goal: Make Baltimore Bicycle & Pedestrian Friendly
-Complete the Bicycle Master Plan, approved in 2006, that has only been partially implemented to date.
-Develop a Bike To Work program and a Bike Sharing program.
Goal: Make Every Baltimore School a Green School
-Add green features to current buildings.
-Adopt the national LEED Schools Rating System for all current and future Baltimore City school structures.
-Implement green facilities management practices, including green cleaning.
Goal: Create Green Jobs
-Expand industries in alternative energy, renewable fuels, energy efficient technology, waste reduction, environmental services & green building materials.
-Create and host a Green Collar Summit.
According to an article by Laura Smitherman in the Baltimore Sun today, O’Malley’s outline for re-regulation is getting mixed responses. Constellation Energy Group “signaled yesterday that it was willing to discuss the governor’s proposal” while a consumer activist said, “”O’Malley is just feeling the pressure.” His plan, she said, “is not going to do anything about rates we are paying right now.”
For the full article, CLICK HERE.
To send your comments to Governor O’Malley, CLICK HERE.
Read (or listen) to the story on WYPR:
On Friday Baltimore Sun writer Gus G. Sentementes reported,
“Officials with Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., the largest energy provider in Maryland, told regulators at a hearing yesterday that home-heating bills have skyrocketed this winter mainly because of significantly colder weather, greater household consumption and, to a lesser extent, spikes in commodity costs for electricity and gas.”
-But some just aren’t buying it. (For the full article, CLICK HERE.)
Have your bills been higher than normal? Unfortunately, BGE is the only electric provider to Baltimore, so you are stuck with them. You should know, however, that you do have a choice of supplier. By choosing a supplier, you can decide what kind of energy source will power your home and business. Many are unaware that wind power is an electricity choice in Baltimore. I switched to wind power over two years ago and could not feel better about the change. Your electricity rates will be higher initially, but you lock in the rate for one year, so it could even out by the year’s end.
Three months ago I chose to offset my winter energy costs by purchasing a smart power strip for the TV (and surrounds) and unplugging all electronics and appliances when not in use. Since implementing these practices, I have cut my bill by half. Last month the bill was $175 for our three-story rowhome.
For information about how to wind power, CLICK HERE.