Although the proposed zoning code is nearly 350 pages long and will change the zoning designation of about seven of every 10 acres of Baltimore's land, most of it has been accepted by the public without controversy. More than 150 people attended the Planning Commission's first public hearing about the code on Thursday, but few criticized the zoning bill.

That's because the proposed code submitted to the City Council already has been extensively reviewed by the public and revised by planning department staff.

The prohibition on Formstone has been in the zoning overhaul since its earliest incarnation, Feinberg said, and no one made a peep about the ban in the four years that drafts circulated.

Still, there are those who thought Formstone would be forever.

"I think people should be able to do with their houses what they want to do," said Aado Vaigro, 83, whose Modern Stone Inc. was one of Ibex's chief competitors. Vaigro started applying his own brand of Formstone in 1950 and said he closed about three years ago.

"It was a lot of hard work," Vaigro said. "You put it on right, it stayed there for 50 years — or better."

Baltimore Sun researcher Paul McCardell contributed to this article.

Proposed zoning sections that prohibit the use of Formstone

Formstone, the hand-sculpted building facade that was invented and popularized in the Baltimore region, would be banned from use by the city's proposed zoning code overhaul. All front and side facades of new rowhouses would need to be "modular clay brick," in colors "consistent with Baltimore traditions" if the new zoning code were approved. Administrative exceptions to these design standards will be considered.

Infill construction in coordinated rowhouse groups: Formstone would be prohibited on new homes built among rowhouses that were "originally designed and developed as a single, coordinated rowhouse development," even if the existing rowhouses are covered in formstone.

New rowhouses in noncoordinated rowhouse groups: Formstone would be prohibited from siding any new rowhouse that is built among rowhouses that do not match ("non-coordinated rowhouse groups").

Additions to existing rowhouses: Formstone would be banned from use on upper-floor additions to existing rowhouses, often called "doghouses" or "pop-ups," even if the rowhouse itself is covered in formstone.

Multifamily residential buildings: Newly built apartment or condo buildings, or those undergoing substantial rehabilitation, would be prohibited from using Formstone siding.

Commercial zoning districts: Formstone would be prohibited from use on new construction and substantial rehabilitations in nearly all areas zoned for commercial use.

Office-industrial and bioscience campus zoning districts: Formstone would be banned from use in areas zoned for large "architecturally coordinated" office developments and lands set aside for bioscience research and development.

Light industrial zoning districts: Formstone would be prohibited in zones designated for industrial uses that are "low-intensity" manufacturing, or research and development facilities with "little to no outside impacts."

Source: Baltimore City Council Bill 12-0152

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