Baltimore City Department of Planning e-News - October 2019

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Baltimore City Department of Planning eNewsletter  -  October 2019

A Message from Chris Ryer, Director

Chris Ryer

This month is National Community Planning Month, which means we're celebrating the role that planning can play in building great communities. This year's theme is Planning for Infrastructure That Benefits All. Aligned with this theme, the American Institute of Architects is organizing a one-day event on this Thursday, October 10 in Baltimore entitled, "From Exclusion to Inclusion, Rethinking Infrastructure to Bridge Baltimore's Divides". We especially encourage community residents to attend - the cost is free, and your views would be extremely valuable to the discourse. 

Similarly, you may have heard of the re-development plans for Lexington Market. A community meeting is scheduled for TONIGHT at the Market. RSVP and more info here.

Finally, we are launching community/neighborhood grants ahead of the Census this month. See below for more information on how to apply for funds to support your community. A complete count ensures a fair share of federal funding for housing, transportation, education, youth programming, hunger and many other programs.

Chris Ryer, Director

Development Resources in Baltimore

This month, we wanted to take time to lift up some of our online development-related resources available for public access.

  • As a first step in any development process, you can set up a pre-development meeting with our team here. The Department of Planning encourages all developers to meet with staff before undertaking a major development or renovation project. During this meeting, staff provide information related to the development review process, and information on any codes and regulations that could impact a proposal.
  • The Site Plan Review Committee is a multi-agency review body intended to
    ensure that proposed development complies with Baltimore City’s Zoning Code,
    the Subdivision Rules and Regulations, Building Codes, and other commonly
    accepted transportation, environmental and institutional guidelines and
  • To look up permits for a specific address, go to Baltimore Housing’s permit search tool.  Use 311 to report work without a permit. CodeMap is a great mapping tool for looking up property level information about vacant properties or permits.
  • You can view the zoning code via this link. To find out the zoning for a particular property, go to CityView.  

Census 2020 Monthly Update: Grant Funding Available for Community Groups

Census 2020

Grants are now available for communities to support public engagement work around the upcoming 2020 Census. 

Apply now for grant funds via this linkIn addition to general Census outreach, funds can also be used to purchase technology to enable community members to complete the first-ever online Census.

This application has a rolling application deadline, and eligible applicants must be organizations who work and operate with populations and geographies in traditionally under-counted areas of the City (see link for map and info).

More information on the grant application process is available via our webpage.

ICYMI: Ambassador Theater Purchased by Artspace


The Ambassador Theater on Liberty Heights Avenue has been purchased by a national non-profit, Artspace.

In recent years, the property was brought into receivership by the City of Baltimore in order to stabilize the deteriorating 83-year old structure. In 2016, the building was designated a historic landmark, preventing demolition.

Community groups have held four meetings with Artspace to discuss plans for the building. The community has expressed a desire for the building to be turned into community theater space for staged productions as well as related programming for both adults and children.

For more information on this acquisition, please see this article in the Baltimore Sun. For more information about Artspace and their plans for the project, please see a copy of this presentation.

Baltimore Climate Resiliency Work Highlighted


Pew, a research and public policy organization, highlighted Baltimore in an article examining how local municipalities integrate a health lens into climate change-related resiliency efforts. 

In Baltimore, the Office of Sustainability is piloting six community-managed “resiliency hubs,” located in community centers, churches, schools or other publicly accessible buildings, and designed to provide safe shelter, medical supplies, and other resources during weather-related emergencies. With grant funding from the Health Impact Project, the city will be able to assess the impact of these hubs.

Lexington Market Public Meeting on Wednesday, October 9

Lexington Market

Compost at the Farmers Market Continues; Expands to 32nd Street!


All Baltimore residents are welcomed to bring their food scraps to the Baltimore Farmers Market & Bazaar under the JFX for FREE every Sunday from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM.

Our composting program was highlighted in the Sun this past week!

This program will expand to the 32nd Street Farmers Market in November.

So far, over 10,000 lbs. of food waste has been collected, and our team has had 1589 interactions with farmers’ market goers about the impact of food waste!

And, keep your eyes open for a Pumpkin Smash after Halloween. We will be composting pumpkins the weekend after Halloween to reduce waste.

Equity in Planning Updates

Our Equity Lens

There are a number of equity-related events coming up in Baltimore to add to your calendar:

  • A symposium on equitable community development is being organized on Oct 22-23 by the Network for Developing Conscious Communities, and held at the Brunn Conference Center on Park Heights Avenue.
  • A one-day symposium in Pigtown on October 10 will examine the impact of policies and design practices that reinforced segregation and disparity in Baltimore — focusing on infrastructure like roads, streetscape, and transit — and envisions a better way forward for the MLK, Jr. Boulevard corridor. 
  • A Baltimore City forum is being organized to discuss the 2019 Blueprint for Maryland's Future, an effort to direct more funding to schools.


Funding Opportunities.

National heritage area grant

Job and Fellowship Opportunities.

  • We have re-opened the position for a Design Planner II, and are seeking someone with an urban design background to tackle this role supporting the Urban Design and Architecture Advisory Panel and neighborhood planning in the Downtown district.

Upcoming Commission Meetings & Events.

10/10 - 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.

10/16 - Sustainability Commission 

Please join commissioners and staff for our monthly Commission on Sustainability meeting. Meetings are open to the public. We welcome all who are interested to attend!

The Commission on Sustainability is made up of volunteer members representing environmental groups, community organizations, labor unions, public health and environmental justice interests, and private industry.

Information is available on the Sustainability calendar.

10/24 - 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.

city of baltimore

Baltimore City Planning

417 E. Fayette Street, 8th Floor

Baltimore, Maryland 21202


department of planning

Chris Ryer, Director