Baltimore City Department of Planning e-News - September 2017

Having troubles viewing this email? View as a webpage.

the compass - city of baltimore department of planning

Baltimore City Department of Planning eNewsletter  -  September 2017

A Message from the Director


The new school year is underway in Baltimore City, and several of our Planning Department initiatives are working to engage youth and students. Our INSPIRE initiative, which focuses on planning for areas surrounding schools undergoing modernization through the 21st Century program, is always looking for input from teachers, parents and students. Four more INSPIRE plans will be presented to the Planning Commission by the end of this year. In this issue of The Compass, read about the Department's INSPIRE program partnership with BOPA, Jubilee Arts, and the community surrounding German Park to bring mural art to the neighborhood.

This issue also highlights our Green, Healthy, Smart Challenge Grant. School teams are encouraged to apply as soon as possible to receive up to $1,000 to support a student-led environmental project. Teams at schools designated as Maryland Green Schools are eligible for up to $2,500. Past projects have included a bike rack, art mosaics, recycling lunch trays, school gardens and more!

Lastly, I'm excited to announce that Baltimore will serve as a case study at the Big City Planning Directors' Institute Clinic in Massachusetts next month. I will be presenting the preliminary findings from a project conducted by our CIP Planner, Kristen Ahearn, and graduate student intern, Jasmine Wynn, over the summer. This project analyzed CIP investments across the City using an equity lens. We look forward to sharing more of this analysis in coming months.


Thomas J. Stosur, Director

INSPIRING a Safe Start to the School Year

Reservoir Hill Park Gets a New Mural

The INSPIRE program has begun to work with community partners on implementation projects identified through the planning process. INSPIRE focuses on the neighborhoods immediately surrounding each of the modernized schools that are part of the 21st Century program, specifically the quarter-mile surrounding each school. 

Community members in the Dorothy I. Height Elementary School (formerly John Eager Howard) INSPIRE plan area identified German Park – located off Linden Avenue and Whitelock Street – as a priority. Stakeholder input helped identify improving the park as the project that would receive INSPIRE general obligation bond (GO bond) funding.

mural sketches

This summer, the Department of Planning INSPIRE program partnered with the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts’ summer mural program, Art @ Work. Through Art @ Work (produced by BOPA, Jubilee Arts, and 901 Arts, and part of the City’s YouthWorks program), approximately 80 young people designed and painted eight murals – four in Reservoir Hill and four in Waverly. INSPIRE sponsored a mural for German Park. 


The youth gave their mural the theme of “Break Through,” to represent the positive growth and progress of the surrounding community. In interviews, the words residents used to represent the community the most were: Money, Growth, Connection, Love, Justice, Basketball, Nice, Unity, Black Empowerment, Quiet, Youth/Kids, and Progress. Youth incorporated these themes from resident interviews into their art work.

Avery Williams, a recent Poly graduate, described the final mural as a collaboration and reflection of how each artist heard and depicted resident feedback. “It is our mural and it is the community’s mural. We used ideas of how people felt about the community. Some people felt the community was growing in a positive direction, so we did the plants…and in general it is a way to brighten up the park, and… [represents] our ideas and the community’s feelings in the murals.”

Department of Planning thanks all of the artists for their time this summer and for their beautiful work!

Find out more about the Art @ Work program on the BOPA webpage, and keep your eyes open for an upcoming special Back-to-School newsletter focused on INSPIRE program news and updates.

Green Healthy

Now Accepting Applications for the Green, Healthy, Smart Challenge grant

All City Schools are invited to apply for grant funds for student-led environmental projects! Grants range from $1,000-$2,500 and can be used for activities such as planting a schoolyard garden, holding a recycled art show, distributing recycling bins, and much more.

Applications are due 11/3/17, those that are received earlier will receive funding sooner.

Full details and application here.


Apply for a MECU Neighborhood Event Grant by 10/1/17 

Your community can earn up to $1,000 for an event such as a block party, park clean up, or festival. Each year, the MECU Neighborhood Event Grants program awards cash grants to Baltimore neighborhood associations and community-based non-profit organizations for fun community events.

The MECU Neighborhood Event Grants program is designed to strengthen communities, increase community involvement and build community pride.

Apply today! With questions, please reach out to Symone Audain at BOPA.

September is #PlanAhead National Preparedness Month. Meet Your Floodplain Planner.


Victor Ukpolo Jr. is the Floodplain Manager in the Baltimore Office of Sustainability.

As the Floodplain Manager, what are your responsibilities here at the Department of Planning?

I am responsible for implementing the City’s Floodplain Management Program and Community Rating System (CRS). I work with staff to review permits and provide technical assistance for those looking to build new structures, or make improvements to existing structures located in high risk flood areas. For this, we implement Baltimore City’s Floodplain Code.

Currently, Baltimore City has a Class 5 Rating that allows owners with properties in the regulated floodplain to receive a 25% discount of flood insurance premiums. I am working with sister agencies to educate property owners about the mandatory flood insurance requirements for properties that have received various federal support such as disaster assistance or mortgage loans.  

What can residents do to prepare for flood events?

Every person should know their flood risk. Baltimore has several high flood risk zones along the Inner Harbor, the Gwynn’s Falls, Jones Falls, and Herring Run. Anyone can go online to our website and find interactive FEMA maps for Baltimore City. You may also find interactive online FEMA maps at the FEMA Flood Maps Service Center. And, you can learn more about building an emergency kit at home.

What recommendation from Sustainability Plan Update do you most hope to see realized?

The entire Sustainability Plan speaks directly to my concerns for a more sustainable Baltimore. I hope that the recommendations on infrastructure, economy, and education are executed as well as others.

Now that we know so much about your current job, what was your very first job?

I was Chuck-E-Cheese. Yes, the man in the suit.

Get #MadeinBaltimore Certified!


As of late August 2017, 100 local small businesses have been certified through the new Made in Baltimore program. Made in Baltimore targets small businesses based in Baltimore City. Members get listed in the Made in Baltimore online directory. You might even get featured as a Maker-of-the-Month, like Chris Rothe of Write Notepads.

Next up:

Made in Baltimore is working with Open Works and SewLab USA to run a pilot industrial sewing training program in October and November this year.  The six-week course is free, but limited to 8 seats.  During the program, we’ll be making tote bags made from recycled MTA vinyl signage, to be sold at our annual holiday shop in December.

For more information, or to join, attend an info session on Wednesday, September 20 at Open Works.

We're Hiring!

Stock Image

Help us find TWO amazing professionals to add to our team! 

We are seeking two planners to serve as Climate & Resiliency Planner and Greening Initiatives Coordinator.

Qualified applicants can come from a wide array of disciplines including urban planning, sustainability, public administration, public health, and architecture.

Minimum Qualifications: A Masters' degree and two years experience in urban, regional, environmental, sustainability, food access, emergency or historic designation planning work. Looking for people with smarts and a heart for serving Baltimore!

For more information, visit this webpage, and apply by 9/29. This posting has been extended by one week!

We are also seeking a Youth Environmental InternThe Baltimore Community Foundation seeks to hire one paid Youth Environmental Intern. This position will report to the Youth Sustainability Coordinator and will work closely with the Baltimore Office of Sustainability, Baltimore City Public Schools, and other partners. Current Baltimore City Public Schools high school students are eligible to apply (minimum 10th grade).

What We're Reading...

Atlanta City Studio, a pop-up design studio within the City of Atlanta's Department of Planning and Community Development, releases Atlanta City Design, a new design guidebook. 

Baltimore in the spotlight for our Food Policy Initiative's work around food resiliency. (Citiscope)

Philadelphia's Rebuild initiative is an ambitious effort to invest $500 million dollars into parks, libraries and recreational centers, using an equity lens to determine where investments will go. (Next City)

Meet Andre Mazelin, the new Managing Director for Motor House, on North Avenue. (Baltimore FishBowl)

Transform Zoning Code Updates

Our new Zoning Code went into effect June 5, 2017.  As expected, there will be a number of amendments to the code as it is tested and used. 

We want your input and ideas. If you have used the new code and have suggestions, questions, or good ideas, please let us know at

This fall, we plan to take a closer look at the Parking Chapter. If you would like to be considered for a working committee to discuss this topic please reach out via email. 

Upcoming Events

Sept 20 - SewLab Info Session at Open Works

Open Works and Made in Baltimore are hosting a FREE 6-week program in production sewing, including site visits and meetings with successful business owners. An info session will be held on September 20. To register, call 410-862-0427.

September 21 - Hometown Habitat Screening in Columbia, MD

The MD Chapter of the ASLA is screening and having a roundtable discussion on the documentary Hometown Habitat Visit the website for more information.

September 27 - INSPIRE Presentation

On Wednesday, September 27th, Department of Planning staff will be presenting the INSPIRE Recommendation Report for Forest Park High School and Calvin M. Rodwell Elementary School.

The presentation will begin at 4:30 p.m. in the second floor library at Calvin M. Rodwell Elementary School (3501 Hillsdale Road). 

September 27 - WorkBaltimore at Baltimore Convention Center

On Wednesday, September 27th, the City of Baltimore and the Department of Human Resources will host WorkBaltimore at the Baltimore Convention Center. This event is designed to connect Baltimore City residents to employers in the area. Over the month leading up to this event, the City will offer job-readiness workshops and related activities.

September 28 - Planning Commission

The Planning Commission plays a key role in the development process. This group meets regularly to review plans and proposals pertinent to the physical development of Baltimore City. The meetings are open to the public.

September 29 - BMore Historic

Bmore Historic is a participant-led unconference for people who care about public history and historic preservation in and around Baltimore. Learn more about Bmore Historic or read their introduction to unconferences.

October 7 - Ricky Myers Day of Service

On October 7, Civic Works is organizing the 15th Annual Day of Service at the Clifton Mansion in Clifton Park.

city of baltimore

Catherine E. Pugh,

Baltimore City Planning

417 E. Fayette Street, 8th Floor

Baltimore, Maryland 21202


department of planning

Thomas J. Stosur,