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Cornerstore Ordinance Update, July 2016

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Since 2008, the Greater Remington Improvement Association (GRIA) has been working with Remington residents to address the challenges of our vacant corner stores. The collaborative master planing process from 2008-2013 engaged hundreds of community members in dozens of meetings, planning sessions, and workshops—and our neighbors overwhelmingly stated a desire to see corner stores back in Remington. 

In 2013, GRIA submitted a request to rezone 12 corner store properties in the city-wide rezoning process known as Transform Baltimore, hoping that it would be quickly passed and new local businesses could fill our vacant corners, serving our neighbors and creating jobs. Unfortunately, the city-wide rezoning process is still under debate. 

Remington’s future can’t wait, so starting last Spring, GRIA and many neighbors invested countless volunteer hours in an effort to immediately rezone these 12 key corner properties in Remington. 

With your help we went door to door with a petition collecting over 200 signatures, hosted meetings attended by dozens of neighbors, flyered nearly every home twice, developed documents explaining this zoning change, consulted with experts, and testified before the planning commission and City Council. This initiative was recognized by City Council members as an unprecedented undertaking in it’s size and scope. More importantly it showed our community’s dedication to working together to create a future that benefits all Remington residents. 

In December of 2015, GRIA’s efforts paid off and the rezoning ordinance was passed by the Baltimore City Council thanks to Councilmember Carl Stokes and the turnout of our neighbors. 

Unfortunately, Remington Neighborhood Alliance Board Member Doug Armstrong (husband of RNA President Joan Floyd) and former RNA Board Member Romaine Johnson challenged the rezoning in the Circuit Court alleging many things, including that the City Council did not make all “findings of fact” necessary for this particular rezoning. On Friday July 8th, GRIA learned that the challenge was successful—at least in the short term. 

GRIA is greatly disappointed in this ruling. In practical terms, this means that businesses scheduled to open may not do so thanks to the regressive efforts of a few.

GRIA is actively working on a strategy for passing an updated rezoning bill through the City Council as soon as possible. We will need community assistance for this endeavor potentially including your time, signatures and public testimony. GRIA will keep the neighborhood updated as more detailed information is available. 

We remain optimistic that our corner stores will again become an active and vital part of our community as in days past. Thank you for your help and support. Be in touch soon.