County releases updated 'My Neighborhood' map tool

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz introduced an updated version of the county's "My Neighborhood" application Friday, an easily accessible web-based map tool that allows citizens and county employees to access zoning information, property maps and dozens of other features in one online location.

"This is a tool that is going to be very useful to people throughout Baltimore County," Kamenetz said. "Whether you're an ordinary citizen concerned about permitted uses for property in your community, a homeowner trying to find out who's responsible for a fallen tree, or a developer who's interested in information necessary for mapping and reports that are required to submit a plan."

To use the application, which is featured on the front page of the county's website, a user must only type in an address. From there, the site will provide information ranging from tax and zoning regulations, to historical and environmental protections.

Director of Information Technology Rob Stradling said on top of the ease-of-use involved in bringing 11 separate maps down to one, the new application more efficiently uses energy and lowers costs for the county.

At the presentation Friday, representatives from the Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability, Department of Public Works, Office of Planning and Department of Economic Development presented effective uses in their respective fields.

The ability for citizens to identify specific geographic areas and access pertinent data from home will ease an administrative burden on the county and free up employees for other.

In the past, if a developer needed information from the Office of Planning, he would have to call or email each specific item needed, and a county employee would turn it around in a day or so. With the new technology, every relevant piece of data is available to the developer.

Kamenetz said that above all of its practical uses for both citizens and county employees, the tool could also help the county from a marketing standpoint. He said that interested businesses or perspective residents would be reassured by the county's efficient and effective use of technology.

"The improved 'My Neighborhood' is more than just a great addition to our county website," Kamenetz said. "It's really an example of what government should be all about. It puts valuable public information together in a single online location where all the people of Baltimore County can access it."

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