Baltimore City Department of Planning e-News - February 2019

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the compass - city of baltimore department of planning

Baltimore City Department of Planning eNewsletter  -  February 2019

A Message from Chris Ryer, Director

Chris Ryer


I am so happy to have the opportunity to lead the Baltimore Planning Department and its mission to build a thriving city of neighborhoods. I am looking forward to working with residents, businesses, community associations, non-profit partners, and all the folks that want to see Baltimore grow. I want to hear your ideas in the coming months; what can we do differently to make your neighborhood a better place to live? How can we use our resources to improve your quality of life?

This is an exciting time for Baltimore. The Pugh administration has made a significant commitment to develop new resources to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods, and the Planning Department is proud to be a part of that. Please feel free to contact me at at any time – your commitment to Baltimore is our greatest asset!

Yours Truly,

Chris Ryer, Director

Weigh in on Baltimore's Design Manual Update!

The Department of Planning has been working to update the Baltimore City Design Manual that was enacted in 2017 with the City’s new Zoning Code.  The updated draft addresses areas of ambiguity and introduces new design and development trends.

Design Manual

There are TWO remaining opportunities to weigh in on this update over February:

1. The proposed Design Manual will be presented to the Planning Commission for consideration on February 21st.  There will be no vote of the Commission on that date, but public testimony will be taken.

2. Review the proposed Design Manual online and offer your input online via Civicomment by February 27, 2019 (link here) & below.

Design Manual Public Comment Period Ends on February 27

Submit your feedback and ideas on the Proposed Design manual by February 27, 2019 at

Preliminary CIP Recommendations: Presented to Planning Commission on 2/21/19

On 2/21, Planning Commission will be discussing PRELIMINARY recommendations on the FY20-25 Capital Improvement Program at 12:30.

There are THREE ways to learn more:

---> ✏️(1) Join the Commission at our office (417 E Fayette St, 8th FL) to learn more. 
---> 💻 (2) You may also view the discussions via our livestream:
---> 🖱 (3) Finally, you may check out the preliminary recommendations on our website.

FEMA Preliminary Flood Maps Issued, Open House Scheduled for April 2.

On December 26, 2018, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued new Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM). The FEMA preliminary maps show 200 structures will be placed within the new regulated 100 year floodplain. The 100 year floodplain is generally the highest risk area.

If your business, or residence is in the Special Flood Hazard Area, please attend our FEMA Preliminary Flood Map Open House on April 2, 2019. The open house will occur between 4PM-7PM at the Department of Planning located at 417 E. Fayette Street, 8th floor, Baltimore, MD 21202. Email for more details, floodplain development guidelines, or Map Information Services. 

The Department of Planning’s floodplain management staff regulates development based on effective and preliminary FIRMs. You may visit the Department of Planning’s webpage for detailed maps showing changes since the last flood insurance map update. You will also find fact sheets for further detail about the mapping process and flood data.

Upcoming Grant Opportunities 

National heritage area

Neighborhood Placemaking Grant from the Baltimore National Heritage Area

Launched in 2018, the Neighborhood Placemaking grant program is a source of funding for neighborhood groups designed to provide small, but strategic, investments in cultural heritage tourism projects within the heritage area.

The following are eligible grant projects by category:

Green Your Neighborhood

Projects that promote neighborhood greening activities, environmental stewardship, cleanliness, beautification, citizen community education and stewardship.

Navigate Your Neighborhood

Festivals, performances, reenactments, and events that promote heritage tourism and attract visitors. Projects that aid in navigating through neighborhoods such as interpretive signage, pedestrian way-finding signage, interpretive brochures, development of online navigation platforms and apps, walking tours, educational programs and materials, other interpretive activities that support the heritage area’s neighborhoods.

Revitalize Your Neighborhood: Plan!

Planning and feasibility studies, vacant lot development planning, market research, branding and marketing projects, research for content development, and project evaluation surveys.

The deadline for this grant opportunity is April 1. Additional information about this opportunity is available through the Baltimore National Heritage Area webpage.

Community Catalyst Grants Program: Phase Two Open Through March 22

Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and the City’s Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) have initiated the second phase of the Community Catalyst Grants Program (CCG). The Agency will award up to $3 million in grants to support projects that are critical to locally-driven community revitalization efforts in Baltimore City. 

Applications are due March 22.  The guidelines and application can be found on DHCD's webpage via this link. 


BMORE Beautiful now Accepting Applications for Care-A-Lot Program: Deadline March 9    

Care-A-Lot is a BMORE Beautiful initiative that supports Baltimore City 501(c)3 organizations that want to clean, mow, maintain and beautify vacant lots in Baltimore City. 

Selected community groups can receive a grant fund for up to $5,500 to care for up to 25 lots during the grant period of May-October. 

This year's program offers an opportunity to apply for project coordinator funds.  This funding supports a coordinator to take on administrative and managerial tasks related to the greening efforts. 

The deadline for submitting the grant application has been extended to Friday, March 9. 

Census 2020: Getting Our Fair Share

Census 2020

Starting this month, we will be featuring information related to the 2020 Census. Baltimore is currently building a Census campaign to raise 2020 Census awareness among all residents. Our goal is ensure that all residents are "fully counted" in the 2020 Census.

Why does being "fully counted" matter to Baltimore?

Institutions including local and state governments; businesses; nonprofits and foundations all rely on data from the Census to allocate funding, define where services are delivered, and promote community based economic development.

MD Department of Planning to Administer $5 Million Census Grant Program

The Maryland Department of Planning is offering grant funding through the 2020 Census Grant Program to support the accurate counting of local jurisdictions for the 2020 Census.

The 2020 Census Grant Program Panel was established and funded following the passage of Senate Bill 855 (Chapter 18 of the Acts of 2018). 

Local governments and nonprofit organizations are encouraged to apply to the Grant Panel through March 1 by going to this website.

Census 2020

The Census Grant Panel will award grants to eligible applicants to conduct census outreach activities throughout Maryland to:

  • Ensure a fair, accurate, and inclusive count for Maryland
  • Increase the response rate of hard-to-count communities and populations in Maryland

The Grant Panel will make decisions on the award recipients by April 1 and funding will be allocated after July 1. Grant awards will range from a suggested minimum of $25,000 to a suggested maximum of $250,000.

For more information on this important opportunity to ensure that Baltimore City is fully counted, please visit

INSPIRE: Streetscape Improvements En Route


Enhancing Routes to Schools

Two 21st Century school buildings will be opening in the Fall of 2020 – Arlington Elementary and the Fairmount Harford Building (REACH! Partnership).

This Spring, INSPIRE will be working with Tree Baltimore/Department of Recreation and Parks and the Department of Transportation on tree plantings and sidewalk improvements along the “primary walking routes.” Look for sidewalk and crosswalk repairs, pruning and planting street trees, and more, to be completed over the spring and summer.

Contact Jennifer Leonard with questions about these INSPIRE efforts.

Less Waste, Better Baltimore Survey Seeks Your Opinion

The City of Baltimore Department of Public Works (DPW) is developing a long-term Solid Waste Master Plan - “Less Waste, Better Baltimore.” The Department would like to hear from you about your current waste management and recycling habits, level of satisfaction with existing programs, and get some ideas about what you would like to see in the future. Please take a few minutes to complete this anonymous survey.

More information about this effort is available via this link. The survey is available online via this link.

waste survey

Critical Area Management Program (CAMP) Funding: Deadline March 15

The City of Baltimore is now accepting proposals for Critical Area Management Program (CAMP) Offset grant funding.

The CAMP Offset grant encourages non-profit partners in Baltimore to come up with new ideas for projects that will improve quality of life and the health of our waterways in Baltimore by reducing stormwater pollution. Funded projects protect our wildlife habitat.

The award amounts range from $5,000 to $49,999, and the deadline for applications is March 15th, 2019 at 5:00pm.

For more information please visit:


Upcoming Planning Events

2/21 & 3/7 - 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.

3/12 - 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.

3/14 - 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.

2/20 & 3/20 - Sustainability Commission

The next Commission on Sustainability meeting will be held on February 20th, 4:00-6:00 PM. The Commission meets on the 3rd Wednesday of each month. This meeting is open to all interested residents and will be held at the Department of Planning's office.

More information available via the Office of Sustainability webpage.

city of baltimore

Catherine E. Pugh,

Baltimore City Planning

417 E. Fayette Street, 8th Floor

Baltimore, Maryland 21202


department of planning

Chris Ryer, Director