Monday, August 08, 2005

Carving Butchers Hill into Historic District

Baltimore's City Council will consider some interesting proposals when it meets on August 15, including some passed out of committee earlier today.

The Urban Affairs Committee approved a bill (05-0023) this afternoon that will designate the Butchers Hill neighborhood a local historic district. The distinction, known as CHAP (Baltimore City's Commission on Historical and Architectural Preservation) preserves the neighborhood's aesthetic integrity and unique heritage by requiring residents to follow guidelines for structural maintenance and development. Although some residents may be irritated by the architectural review process, receiving the City designation reaffirms the neighborhood's identification as a National Register Historic district, preserves its character and diversity, and benefits property values.

The bill also will merge the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation with the Department of Planning. While proponents argue that moving CHAP into Planning will put it into a better position to affect development, critics counter that it will be less aggressive in preservation efforts.

Ealier in the day, three separate ordinances (05-0196, 05-0197, 05-0198) to provide a total of $5,086,771 in supplementary funds to the Police Department were voted out of the Budget and Appropriations Committee. While it is important to have a well-financed force in order to provide timely assistance to citizens in distress, such funding bills are always appropriate times to ask questions about the Department's priorities. Unfortunately, as is typical, no councilmember took advantage of this opportunity.

from The League: Reassembled with revisions

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