The Compass - eNews from Baltimore Planning

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A monthly eNewsletter from the Baltimore City Department of Planning

August 2016

A Message from the Director…

Although it is summer, the Department of Planning is still busy, even after hours, with community meetings and events. On August 3, the Department of Planning hosted the Food Policy Action Coalition (PAC). This group welcomes all residents and community members interested in food policy issues.

Established in 2010, the Food PAC members work to improve food access collaboratively with the Baltimore Food Policy Initiative. Since 2010, the Food PAC has grown from 18 to over 60 members.

August's meeting included updates on the INSPIRE planning process around schools, and presentations from the Black Yield Institute, Hungry Harvest, and Fresh at the Avenue. All of these organizations are doing critical work to address food equity concerns in Baltimore this summer and year-round.

Food PAC meets on the first Wednesday of every other month. The next meeting will be in October, and interested community members are encouraged to join.

Please take a moment to check out our other newsletter updates for August, and enjoy the rest of your summer!

Thomas J. Stosur, Director 


Weigh in on Potential Demolition, Stabilization and Greening Sites!


We are looking for your input on how to address vacant properties through demolition, stabilization (saving intact historic properties in anticipation of future rehabilitation) and greening.

Tell us what you think; your comments will help Planning and Housing staff identify and prioritize vacant properties. Submit comments and suggestions through our interactive map!

Planning Staffer named Champion of Change


Kristin Baja, the Climate and Resilience Planner at the Baltimore City Office of Sustainability, was named a White House Champion of Change in July 2016.

Champions of Change are recognized leaders who are working with vulnerable communities to help ensure that those most at-risk of the negative impacts of climate change have ample opportunities to adapt and thrive in a changing future.

Kristin is responsible for development, implementation and monitoring of the City’s Disaster Preparedness Project and Plan. She is also responsible for coordinating resiliency planning, the City’s Community Rating System certification, and implementing the City’s Sustainability Plan.

Congratulations to Kristin on this high honor.

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Six Baltimore Organizations Awarded Funding through CAMP Offset Grant Program

Baltimore’s Critical Area Management Program (CAMP) serves to improve water quality, conserve and restore habitat, and promote a sustainable environment. Under the program’s requirements, all land uses within 1,000 feet of the shore must minimize adverse impact on water quality caused by water running off the land and conserve the wildlife habitat. When significant development occurs within 1,000 feet of the shoreline and cannot meet the requirements of the CAMP, applicants are permitted to contribute an offset fee.  These funds are utilized to complete projects that result in an environmental benefit to the City and support the goals of CAMP.


In 2016, the Critical Area Commission approved six applications submitted to the CAMP Offset Grant Program.  The CAMP Offset Grant Program provides grant funding to non-profit organizations to complete eligible projects.  The six approved projects are described below: 

  • Baltimore Green Space will use the funding to support the Forest Stewardship Network. The Network brings together community residents to care for forest patches throughout the City’s neighborhoods.  The Network will hold hands-on events to teach the skills necessary to care for forest patches.
  • Blue Water Baltimore (BWB) will complete two projects. The first project will monitor water quality by collecting bacteria samples from 49 sites throughout Baltimore. The new data will be shared with the public via a data-mapping website and in the annual Baltimore Harbor Report Card. The second project will hire Baltimore City youth to work in public parks over the summer on projects aimed to expand the tree canopy.
  • Civil Works will also organize a Green Jobs program for youth, focused on stormwater management and rain gardens. Youth will gain an understanding of the negative impacts associated with stormwater pollution and runoff and how the gardens they create will have a lasting impact on the community and ecosystem. 
  • The Parks and People Foundation will collaborate with the Westport Neighborhood Association to remove 2.79 acres of invasive species for creation of a native riparian buffer along the Gwynns Falls. 
  • The Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore (WPOB) will expand its Inner Harbor “oyster garden” partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The program will train volunteers to maintain oyster cages around the Inner Harbor waterfront. Approximately 216,000 oysters will be transported to a sanctuary at the end of the growing season. 

Looking forward, the Department of Planning will continue to identify additional projects when funding is available. These projects provide an opportunity to not only improve water quality and protect Baltimore’s habitat, but to engage and educate Baltimore’s residents.  

More information on the CAMP Offset Grant Program can be found on the Office of Sustainability's website.

City Partners with Communities on Greening Initiatives

Green tracks1

The Growing Green Initiative is working in several targeted neighborhoods across Baltimore to transform blighted vacant lots into assets for the surrounding communities.  In East Baltimore, greening projects on vacant lots along the Amtrak rail corridor are now underway as part of Growing Green Tracks. Growing Green Tracks is a city-led collaborative that works to eliminate blight along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor through strategic demolition and reuse of vacant land for greening projects.

Baltimore’s Growing Green Tracks initiative was awarded $300,000 in 2015 through the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and Wells Fargo & Company Community WINS grant program. This grant program recognizes local programs that promote long-term economic prosperity and improve the quality of life for residents.

Growing Green Tracks is also providing workforce development opportunities for Baltimore City residents through Civic Works’ Community Lot Team. The Community Lot Team employs and trains individuals to transform vacant and abandoned lots into community gardens and green spaces. 

Green Tracks2

In addition, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced $500,000 in additional funding for the Growing Green Initiative on Earth Day in April. This funding targets several neighborhoods across Baltimore: Coldstream Homestead Montebello, Broadway East, Sandtown Winchester, Upton, Druid Heights, Penn North, and Park Heights. This boost in funding will be used to re-seed and fence lots, plant trees, create community managed open spaces, support the Lots Alive and Neighborhood Greening grants programs, and sustain the Care-A-Lot program.

Growing Green Initiative partners include Civic Works, the Parks & People Foundation, Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, Baltimore City Parks and Recreation, Department of Transportation, Department of Housing and Community Development, and community members and leaders from the targeted neighborhoods.