Baltimore City Department of Planning e-News - July 2020

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Baltimore City Department of Planning eNewsletter  - July 2020

A Message from Chris Ryer, Director


This past month, we welcomed five Mayoral Fellows to join our Department. 

The Mayoral Fellowship provides an important opportunity for the Planning Department to broaden the pipeline to careers in public service and urban planning. This closely aligns with Goal 2 of our Equity Action Plan.

We are looking for more opportunities to build close community partnerships and introduce Baltimore's young people to careers related to urban planning and the built environment. In the coming year, we hope to partner with the Enoch Pratt Library to kickstart a summer camp around urban planning for young people, and we welcome your ideas and suggestions for additional ways to introduce our youngest neighbors in Baltimore to the Planning Department!

I would like to remind you that the Department is fully functioning.  Although we are teleworking, you may reach any of us through our regular email addresses and phone numbers. Just today, I received a compliment from a home renovator that used the CHAP tax credit, and was able to do that promptly and easily with Stacy Montgomery and Caitlin Audette from our CHAP office.  

Like many of you, staff are juggling childcare, their partners telework, and their telework at the same time. You may receive e-mails from our staff at 6 in the morning or 10 at night, but they will be returned in a timely way. Some of our staff have been assigned to the emergency food delivery effort or to the rental assistance program, but they will be returning to their regular work as soon as it is humanly possible.

I have been so impressed with the way Baltimore got through the last four months of this pandemic, and I would like to acknowledge our staff as well as the hundreds of residents and volunteers that have helped us through this. We have gotten through the initial crisis of this pandemic, and now we must assess how it will affect ourselves, our families, and our city over the next six months.  Based on the last four months, I am very hopeful. 

Chris Ryer, Director

Census 2020: The Link to Housing Assistance

Baltimore City is launching a temporary rent support program designed to help people who have lost income because of COVID-19 pay their rent. 

The US Census directly impacts federal, state and local funding for affordable housing programs. A full and accurate 2020 Census count is important because population data are used to determine billions of dollars every year related to housing -- these programs will be critical as Baltimore recovers from the economic implications of COVID-19. Below is just a small selection of housing programs that are impacted by the Census:

  • Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers Program – Section 8 vouchers help approximately 2 million nationwide secure affordable rental housing in the private market.
  • Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) – This program provides private investors with an incentive to invest in affordable rental housing. States, through a competitive process, allocate tax credits. 
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) – LIHEAP provides assistance to over 6 million households to assist with energy bills.

Food Response News: Grocery, Produce Box Distribution Continues in July

The Department of Planning is one of the key agencies in the Covid-19 Food Response Strategy. See below for key updates on times, days and locations for grocery box and produce distribution in July.

Food Boxes1

Food Boxes2

Five Mayoral Fellows Join Planning Team for the Summer

The Baltimore City Mayoral Fellowship provides a 10-week full-time placement with a Baltimore City agency. Mayoral Fellows are talented and dedicated undergraduate and graduate students with an interest in public service. 

Mayoral Fellows are assigned to projects that focus on public policy issues and challenges that matter most to Baltimore's residents.

Five students and recent graduates are joining the Department of Planning as Mayoral Fellows this summer.

Tiaira Robinson is a native of Baltimore, Maryland. Tiaira will be working in the Department of Planning with the 2020 Census Outreach team, where she will be actively engaging with the Census Community Grant recipients to boost response rates in some of Baltimore’s hardest to reach neighborhoods. 

Tiaira’s drive for this work is deeply rooted in her love for the city and the people who call Baltimore home. Tiaira graduated from Coppin State University with a Bachelor's degree in Urban Arts.  


Favour Okhuevbie is originally from Nigeria, but now lives in Baltimore, MD. Favour is a a recent graduate of the University of Baltimore, with a degree of Jurisprudence. Favour is the Mayoral Equity fellow for the Department of Planning, and is assigned to the Equity and Workforce Inclusion research project. One of Favour's goals during this fellowship is to generate a comprehensive and achievable workforce diversity and inclusion strategy for the department.


Jeremy Hoffner will be working jointly with the Department of Planning and the Department of Transportation. Jeremy will be researching existing sidewalk repair and replacement policies in Baltimore City.

Jeremy is a rising Junior at Johns Hopkins University studying Political Science with minors in History and English. He is originally from the New York City suburbs.


Jessica Flynn is documenting the Food Distribution and Recovery efforts during the COVID-19 Pandemic in order to inform policy and practice changes within the Office of Sustainability and Baltimore City.

Jessica possesses a BS in Biochemistry and an MS in Information Systems from UMBC and is currently pursuing an MBA at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. A Baltimore resident since 2004, Jessica is excited to be part of the 2020 Mayoral Fellow cohort and a positive force for change.

New Planner Joins Food Policy Initiative


Taylor LaFave is the new Food Systems Planner for the Baltimore Food Policy Initiative. He works to build an equitable urban food system through food planning and by revising land use policies.

Since joining the team in 2020, he has worked on the City’s COVID-19 Emergency Food Response. 

Taylor earned his Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from the University of Michigan. Taylor enjoys working in the Radnor-Winston community garden, biking to work, exploring Baltimore’s history, and visiting baseball stadiums across the country.

Intern Joins Sustainability for Summer 2020


Bryan Thomson is originally from Boulder, Colorado and is passionate about sustainable and equitable policy.

He is currently studying public administration at Princeton's School of Public and International Affairs and law at Stanford Law School. 

This summer, Bryan is working on updating Baltimore's 2012 Climate Action Plan as well as researching ways the city can keep residents cool on extreme heat days during the COVID-19 pandemic. In his free time, Bryan enjoys gardening, running, and smothering his food in hatch green chile.

Register for Baltimore Data Week!

Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance 

This year, #BaltimoreDataDay is now #BaltimoreDataWeek! Our annual workshops helping neighborhoods access data for their communities will be held online, over the course of a full week! 

The week has been organized by daily themes:

  • Monday, July 20: Impact of COVID-19 on Baltimore’s Communities
  • Tuesday, July 21: Racial Disparities in Housing and Neighborhood Development
  • Wednesday, July 22: Data for Understanding Environment and Climate Change 
  • Thursday, July 23: Effect of Digital Equity on Learning and Working 
  • Friday, July 24: Where Do We Go from Here? BNIA @ 20

To view the event agenda and register for sessions, please visit

Job Opportunity with Pennsylvania Avenue Main Street

The Main Street Manager will manage the Pennsylvania Avenue Main Street Program, a collaborative effort of West Baltimore businesses, property owners, and stakeholders, to revitalize, market, and promote the commercial corridor. 

The successful candidate will be responsible for the development, conduct, execution, and documentation of the Main Street Program and related public events within the boundaries of the program. The Manager serves as the principal on-site staff person responsible for coordinating all project activities locally as well as for representing the community regionally and nationally as appropriate.

Kindly send resume and salary history to by July 17, 2020.

July 2020: Zoning Code Updates

Zoning Code

In June of 2020, the Department of Planning began a review of the Zoning Code, adopted in December 2016 with an effective date of June 2017.

We had 145 people attending our first virtual meeting to discuss the Zoning Code.  Currently, our team is following up with individuals and groups who presented questions and concerns on various topics. 

We will leave the Zoning presentation up on our website and open to comments until July 31st

With additional input, you may also reach out directly to

New Proposal Introduced to Amend Zoning Code to Reduce Fossil Fuels


On July 6, City Councilman Dorsey introduced a new proposal (CCB #20-0561: Zoning Code - Fossil Fuel Infrastructures) with the aim of improving the climate and reducing fossil fuel reliance.

The proposal would amend the Zoning Code to reduce and discourage reliance on fossil fuels by prohibiting new gas stations. In addition, it would also change requirements for off-street parking spaces.

The bills in the proposal will proceed to relevant Committees for further evaluation.

Upcoming Commission Meetings & Events.

7/9/20 & 7/30/20  - 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.

Agenda and WebEx information is available via this link.

If you are unable to participate, you may submit written testimony to

7/14/20 - Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP)

Since 1964, CHAP has enhanced and promoted the culture and economy of Baltimore through the preservation of buildings, sites and neighborhoods. CHAP meets on the second Tuesday of each month. 

Information and an agenda for the July 14 meeting is available here.

7/15/20 - Sustainability Commission 

The Commission on Sustainability is a 21-member body, overseeing the implementation of the Baltimore Sustainability Plan.

Meetings are held monthly and open to the public. The July meeting can be accessed via WebEx via this link.

7/23/20 - 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.

The agenda for the July 23 meeting will be made available here.

city of baltimore

Baltimore City Planning

417 E. Fayette Street, 8th Floor

Baltimore, Maryland 21202


department of planning

Chris Ryer, Director