Baltimore City Department of Planning e-News - April 2020

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Baltimore City Department of Planning eNewsletter  - April 2020

A Message from Chris Ryer, Director

Chris Ryer

This past month has been a whirlwind for everyone. At our office, we have quickly adjusted to our new working-from-home status, as staff adapted to using new tools to communicate internally and with the communities that we serve. Don't forget - we are still just an email or phone call away. You may still reach staff by their office phone (it will forward to their home office) and Baltimore City email addresses.

While our staff is working remotely, they will continue to review Applications for Authorization to Proceed, permits, and Historic Tax Credit Applications. Meetings are also continuing - just virtually! Read on to learn about dates and how to participate from your home office (or couch).

Finally, April 22, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. The Baltimore Office of Sustainability is planning a virtual celebration on social media, which will include live DIY workshops and videos and will be a great way to connect during this time.

Please continue to check our website and encourage your friends and family to sign up for our email alerts to stay up to date.

Chris Ryer, Director

Operating Status & Updates

While our offices are closed to the public, our staff remains fully operational and is teleworking.

You may reach staff by calling their office line or by We are also regularly checking voicemails on our main phone line: (410) 396-7526 (PLAN)


UDAAP, SPRC & Planning Commission

Upcoming Meetings for Planning Commission & UDAAP are being held via WebEx.


  • Permits are being reviewed and approved; Construction and inspections are continuing. More info and important phone numbers are on DHCD's website here.
  • BMZA is on hold.


  • Almost 70 people attended the virtual Sustainability Meeting on April 1; Presentations and Minutes will be posted online on the BoS webpage.
  • Sustainability is planning an Earth Day "virtual" Celebration on April 22, promoting the work of partners and friends via social media.


  • In April, CHAP will hold a hearing in order for the Commission to address amending the official Rules to allow for remote hearings.
  • CHAP staff is working remotely, continuing to review Applications for Authorization to Proceed, building permits, and Historic Tax Credit Applications.You can find CHAP's contact information here

Census 2020: What's Happening

April 1 was Census Day -- when you fill out your Census form, you enter information for every person staying with you on April 1, 2020. Political representation and federal funding are based on this count for the next ten years. Baltimore is typically undercounted, which means we get less representation and funding than we should receive. With this year's COVID-19 Pandemic we are facing an even greater challenge to make sure that #bmorecounts! 

Why Does This Matter for Baltimore? According to WYPR, undercounting of hard-to-count communities during the census can severely affect critical funding.  At stake, trillions of dollars in funding for schools, social programs, health care and economic development. Listen here.

What's New? First, the US Census has postponed field operations for at least a month. This means that they won't begin field operations until late April -- an important part of reaching hard-to-count populations. Further, in-person surveying has been suspended as of March 20. More in this article from PBS.

What's Next? The Novel coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak has forced many community efforts, like Baltimore's Census Complete Count Committee, to pivot away from public outreach plans and rely more on texting, phone banking, social media (including a video featuring rap artist Cardi B) to encourage people to participate in the count.

There are two steps you can take TODAY to help ensure that #bmorecounts:

Do your Census

1. Complete the Census today!

  • It only takes 10 minutes via an online form OR you can respond by phone and get assistance from a live person (844-330-2020).





Census Challenge

2. Enter the #BmoreCensusChallenge Social Media Contest

  • Post a Census 2020 themed picture or meme with the hashtag #bmorecensuschallenge
  • Tag at least 3 friends. 
  • Tag us (@BaltPlan on IG and @BaltimorePlanning on Facebook).
  • There will be GREAT prizes for both English and non-English posts. 

Sandtown-Winchester and Harlem Park to Launch Master Plan Process

The Sandtown-Winchester Harlem Park Master Plan Collective is seeking proposals for consultant services associated with the creation of a Master Plan for the Sandtown-Winchester and Harlem Park neighborhoods in Baltimore, MD.

The Sandtown-Winchester Harlem Park Master Plan Collective was formed by several community organizations uniting for the common cause of community revitalization. The collective seeks to create a Master Plan that will document the community’s vision for its future. Through the creation of a Master Plan the collective seeks to facilitate and coordinate necessary neighborhood investment and to improve the community conditions surrounding health, safety, housing, transportation, economic opportunity and education. 

More information on this website and Request for Proposals can be found here. 

Reach Your Community Planner Remotely

Chad Works from Home

Our Community Planners are working remotely and practicing social distancing, but that does not mean that they are not in touch with people in Baltimore’s neighborhoods. Over the past two weeks our staff have been calling community leaders across the city to check to see how they are doing, ask about additional resources that their community may need, and remind them of the importance of completing the Census.

You can look up your community planner and call them on their office line via this map.

50th Anniversary of Earth Day is April 22


The Department of Planning has been working to propose updates to the City’s forest conservation regulations. 

The first of these updates is the creation of a policy to review requests for modifications to existing forest conservation easements. 

The policy was adopted by the Planning Commission on March 5th and can be reviewed here. Additional updates are currently being drafted and will be shared on our website in the coming weeks.

CAMP (Critical Area Management Program) Seeks Public Input

The Critical Area Management Program (“CAMP”) is mandated by the State of Maryland, and is implemented in Baltimore City by the Department of Planning through its Office of Sustainability. The CAMP is important because it intends to protect and improve water quality and wildlife habitat in the Chesapeake Bay.

The Office of Sustainability has been working since 2018 to update our CAMP, and we are seeking public input through April 17th.

You can find the draft CAMP here. On this Earth Day month, please take the time to review the proposed CAMP 2020- Your comments help us make our coastal zones a better and more sustainable place.


Food Scrap Collection at the Waverly Farmer's Market is self-serve until further notice.

In compliance with COVID-19 health and safety protocol, we will not be collecting data on food scrap drop-offs for the foreseeable future. Please continue to observe the guidelines of the program. If you have any questions, please email Thanks!

Baltimore COVID-19 Updates & Resources


The City's COVID-19 webpage launched in March.

This website is a central place to access the latest news, alerts, and resources related to Baltimore City's response to the health crisis.

How can you get involved?

1.​ S​hare our information & help get out vital community information:

2. Lending a hand -​ We greatly appreciate the outpouring of support for Baltimore’s preparation and response to COVID-19. Volunteer opportunities here. 

Equity in Planning: Emergency Food Response

Emergency SNAP

The Department of Planning's Food Policy initiative is leading the City's Emergency Food Insecurity Response team.

The response is organized by priority population with the following team leads:

  • Children and families: Mayor’s Office of Children & Family Success
  • Older adults/seniors: Baltimore City Health Department, Division of Aging and CARE Services
  • All food-insecure residents: Department of Planning, Baltimore Food Policy Initiative

This effort includes meal distribution across the City, and a map can be accessed with updated information here:

Additional information targeting older adults in need of food assistance; SNAP benefits; and more is available on the Emergency Food Insecurity Response webpage.

Upcoming Commission Meetings & Events.

4/16/20  - Planning Commission

The Planning Commission is responsible for maintaining land use plans for the City and reviewing all amendments to the Zoning Ordinance. The Planning Commission meets on Thursdays throughout the year.

Meetings are held in the Front Boardroom of the Department of Planning, 8th floor of the Benton Municipal building, 417 East Fayette Street. FOR APRIL, ALL MEETINGS HAVE MOVED TO A VIRTUAL FORMAT USING WEBEX.

The schedule, agenda and staff reports are available on this website.

4/30/20 - 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.

Meetings are held in the Front Boardroom of the Department of Planning, 8th floor of the Benton Municipal building, 417 East Fayette Street. FOR APRIL, ALL MEETINGS HAVE MOVED TO A VIRTUAL FORMAT USING WEBEX.

Dates, agendas and staff reports can be found here.

city of baltimore

Baltimore City Planning

417 E. Fayette Street, 8th Floor

Baltimore, Maryland 21202


department of planning

Chris Ryer, Director