A dilapidated, World War II era apartment
ROBERT STEUTEVILLE    JUL. 1, 2005
A dilapidated, World War II era apartment complex in Baltimore County, Maryland, was approved to be converted to a small new urban neighborhood under an innovative charrette-based entitlement process. The process, made law by the county in December 2004 and created with the help of The Charrette Institute in Portland, Oregon, allows developments to be approved if consensus is achieved through a formal vote at the end of a community design charrette. The law applies to specific “renaissance sites” designated by the county in inner-ring suburban areas. The 18-acre Kingsley Park project includes 202 units — a mix of senior housing, single-family detached houses, and townhouses — and a small retail site. Seventy-four percent of housing must meet affordability requirements. The county owns the infill site and will seek a developer. Design Collective of Baltimore, a new urbanist firm, led the charrette. Approximately 150 people attended the charrette in early June. Those who voted approved the project 48-0, and the county Planning Board recently validated the vote. The next step is the creation of a pattern book by Design Collective and county planners. Kingsley Park was the first project approved under the new law — the first legislation of its type in the US. The vote at the end of the design process adds pressure on the charrette team to create a plan that is well received by the community, notes Design Collective principal Matt D’Amico.