Baltimore City Department of Planning e-News - April 2018

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the compass - city of baltimore department of planning

Baltimore City Department of Planning eNewsletter  -  April 2018

A Message from the Director


In April, our Office of Sustainability hosted an immensely successful Annual "Town Hall" Open House. We had a great mix of ages and residents from all over the City attend. At the event, our team released the draft Sustainability Plan update, and the comment period officially opened. We are using Civicomment to collect your input, and encourage you to share the link to this tool with your family, friends and neighbors - encourage everyone you know in Baltimore to participate!

Staff have also attended a variety of community events this month, ranging from Strong City Baltimore's Neighborhood Institute to Ben Fest at Ben Franklin High School. We will be at the GROW Centers around town all month, and we will also be at Young Defenders Day at Fort McHenry, when BCBS students learn about the 1814 Battle of Baltimore. Finally, we have scheduled the next series of #PlugintoPlanning workshops coming to South and West Baltimore this May.

If you have an idea for a partnership opportunity where Planning can connect with and visit your community, please let us know!

Thomas J. Stosur, Director

Sustainability Open House a Success:

Comment Period Continues Until May 11

Caring Nature

On April 11, the Office of Sustainability hosted the Annual Sustainability Open House at the War Memorial. More than 300 community members and partners were in attendance, including Mayor Pugh. This was an opportunity for residents to review the new Sustainability Plan Update. At the event, attendees were also able to speak to various partners doing great work around sustainability and justice in Baltimore, as well as check out locally made-in-Baltimore products and sample food from Land of Kush.

If you were unable to attend, there is still time to comment on the Sustainability Plan update draft. A final round of public comment on the draft plan will run through May 11, 2018 online. View the draft plan and comment here.

Our Agency's priority in this process and for the plan is equity. We want to make sure every story and every voice truly counts. We aim to institutionalize issues of equity into the core workings of city government planning and implementation - and one way is to ensure that everyone in Baltimore has the opportunity to view and comment on the plan - so please help us spread the word!

Planning Presents at Neighborhood Institute

Neighborhood Institute

This April, planners participated in Strong City Baltimore's Neighborhood Institute. We hosted a workshop on the topic of public engagement opportunities for community residents. 

Stephanie Smith, Assistant Director, provided an overview of all major initiatives currently ongoing and opportunities to weigh in. Sara Paranilam, Division Chief for Comprehensive Planning, reviewed the Capital Budget process in Baltimore, and Kate Edwards, Project Manager for the Baltimore Green Network, presented details on the draft plan and vision for the Green Network and demonstrated how residents can comment via our Civicomment tool.

Our team will continue to seek out similar opportunities to connect and interact with community residents in upcoming months.

UDARP has transitioned to UDAAP!

The Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel (UDARP) has become the Urban Design and Architecture Advisory Panel (UDAAP). The Department of Planning is pleased to update the design review process to address many items that have been in transition with input from the development community as design review was incorporated into the new Zoning Code, which became effective last June.

The new UDAAP website outlines more clear processes and provides enhanced user-friendly information. Review ‘steps’ more closely align with architectural design process milestones. The incorporation of a Panel Chairperson to facilitate the design discussion will continue the Department’s goal to support high quality developments.  The roundtable meeting format remains, and we continue to invite community members to observe the meetings. Agendas and minutes continue to be published on the website, so stay tuned for future meetings.

INSPIRE Youth Engagement this Spring

Youth inspire

Jimmy Mitchell, a Community School Coordinator at Arlington Elementary-Middle School, has developed a “Youth INSPIRE Community Service Training:101”. This training series teaches leadership and community engagement skills to youth. The program is modeled on the INSPIRE Planning process. 

Planners have led the students through a SWOT analysis and asset mapping activity. Participants are also leading their school and community at the Mayor’s Spring Clean-up. 

The INSPIRE planning process was also highlighted in Baltimore Fishbowl this April. The article discusses improvements at Roosevelt Park in Hampden.

Students Visit the Department of Planning

Student Visit

In April, the Department of Planning welcomed youth interns from the St. Francis Neighborhood Center as part of their Shadow Day program. Through this program, youth learned about the functions of City government and the type of job opportunities that exist in various agencies, including the Department of Planning. We love seeing young people in our office, and would welcome more student visits throughout the year! 

Please reach out if you know of a student group interested in learning more about urban planning career pathways.

Plug into Planning May Meetings Scheduled

Plug inTo May

We are kicking off our second set of #PlugintoPlanning meetings this May!

Come meet Baltimore City Planning staff in your community. Learn about what we're up to; what plans are underway; how it impacts your community; and about opportunities to plug in and influence policymakers and decision makers.


May 3: Roots and Branches @ 1807 Harlem Avenue, 6 pm

May 16: Benjamin Franklin High School @ 1201 Cambria Street, 6 pm

RSVP via our Facebook page:

Visit a GROW Center this Month!

Grow Center

GROW Centers are popping up across Baltimore City with free/low cost green products and free workshops on topics including greening, vacant lot revitalization and stormwater management in April and May.

Visit a GROW Center if you want to transform that vacant lot, spruce up your community garden or make your block greener! 

Visit Facebook to see the specific dates and locations for 2018.

Don't forget to comment on the Baltimore Green Network!


The comment period for Baltimore's Green Network draft plan is open until April 29. This is your final opportunity to comment on the draft plan! The plan envisions interconnected green spaces throughout the City of Baltimore, particularly in areas affected most by vacancy and disinvestment. We need your feedback on our ideas and vision. Please visit and continue to spread the word!

Upcoming Events

5/3 - UDAAP

The Urban Design and Architecture Advisory Panel’s role is to provide the Planning Commission and the Department of Planning design review expertise in the areas of urban design, architecture, and landscape design for all proposed master planning efforts and significant development projects with the goal of achieving high quality designs for the planned and built environment of Baltimore City. More information found here.

5/3 - Plug into Planning @ Roots and Branches School

 An interactive, open-house style workshop where community members can meet planners and learn about current projects and upcoming opportunities to shape the course of Baltimore's development. Visit our Facebook Social Media page to learn more and register.

5/8 - Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP)

The Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) oversees 33 local historic districts, over 200 landmarks, and manages a local historic preservation tax credit program.  CHAP helps preserve and revitalize neighborhoods, celebrates City history, and promotes historic preservation as a proven economic driver for Baltimore City. 

For more information on the upcoming meeting agenda, visit this site.

5/10 - Planning Commission

The Planning Commission meets regularly each month. All meetings are held in the Phoebe B. Stanton Boardroom of the Department of Planning, located on the 8th floor of 417 East Fayette Street and are open to the public. Live streaming is available.

The agenda and staff reports are available on this website.

5/16 - Plug into Planning @ Benjamin Franklin High School

 An interactive, open-house style workshop where community members can meet planners and learn about current projects and upcoming opportunities to shape the course of Baltimore's development. Visit our Facebook Social Media page to learn more and register.

city of baltimore

Catherine E. Pugh,

Baltimore City Planning

417 E. Fayette Street, 8th Floor

Baltimore, Maryland 21202


department of planning

Thomas J. Stosur,