Baltimore City Department of Planning e-News - October 2020

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Baltimore City Department of Planning eNewsletter  - October 2020

A Message from Chris Ryer, Director



Maryland's mail-in ballot applications are starting to arrive in mailboxes across Baltimore. In addition to the election of our representatives, we will also be voting on local bond issues. The bond issues will authorize the City to borrow $160 million through General Obligation (GO) bonds to finance important public projects in the City. GO bonds are borrowed funds secured by the City’s taxing authority. They typically have very low interest rates and are a common way for cities to pay for improvements to long-term "bricks and mortar" projects expected to last at least the life of the bonds such as affordable housing projects, infrastructure and facilities such as libraries, rec centers and schools and community development activities.

While many of the funds in the capital budget are restricted to certain types of projects, GO bonds are very flexible and can be used to fund some of the City’s most pressing capital priorities. In the newsletter below, we discuss the four bond issue questions on the ballot, and urge you to vote "For", in order to support this critical source of funding for the City. More information is also available on our webpage here.

Chris Ryer, Director

2020 Census Nears Finish Line

As of October, the City of Baltimore has reached a 56% response rate on the 2020 Census.

In September, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh ruled that the federal government had not given a good reason for changing the Census deadline from Oct. 31 to Sept. 30. In her ruling, Judge Koh agreed with the National Urban League and many other advocacy groups that the current abbreviated schedule would irreparably harm communities that might be undercounted. The federal government filed an appeal, but it was rejected. This means that the Census count will continue until October 31!

Data from the decennial census is used to determine $1.5 trillion a year in federal funding, congressional apportionment and state redistricting.

On the ground in Baltimore, in late September groups throughout the City pushed forward to reach out to undercounted communities. Nadine Ngouabe Dlodlo, a Planning Academy alumna, was named a Census Champion by the state of Maryland for her work to get the word out. Ms. Nadine led the charge to do outreach across several markets in the area: Avenue Market, Lexington Market, the Northeast Market and more. At each outreach event, her team touched approximately 100 Census respondents.

If you haven't filled out your Census yet, you can still do so -- visit

Bond Authorization on the Ballot This November!

Local elections matter!

We are not only voting for our next local representatives, but on other important issues that affect the City, like changes to the City charter and local bond issues. The bonds issues will authorize the City to borrow up to $160 million in General Obligation (GO) bonds to finance important public projects.

The bonds will allow the City to pay for improvements to physical infrastructure and other long-term investments like fixing roads and bridges, recreation center renovations, preservation and redevelopment of affordable housing, renovation of libraries, and more.

There are four questions on the 2020 ballot, described further below. Your vote “FOR” the questions below allows many incredibly important projects to be funded over the next two years!

See below and visit  for more information.

Question A

Question A: $12 million for Affordable Housing

The Affordable Housing Loan sets aside funds exclusively to be used for affordable housing.  Eligible uses include acquisition, preservation, production of new housing, demolition, rental assistance, housing counseling and project finance comprised of loans (including forgivable or fully amortizing) or grants as well as other related activities. These funds could be used to support the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Question B

Question B: $38 million for Schools

This loan authorization complements the 21st Century Schools investment by making critical systemic improvements, such as fire alarms, HVAC systems, and other urgent needs in schools that are not currently funded through the 21st Century Schools Initiative. It also allows renovation and replacement of additional schools to take place, leveraging traditional State capital support through the Maryland Public Schools Construction Program. The City contribution is used to match approximately $30 million in annual State funding for school building improvements.

Question C

Question C: $38 million for Community & Economic Development

These funds help support and promote efforts to revitalize and stabilize neighborhoods and support investment that retains and attracts jobs in the City and increases tax revenues. This loan is used to eliminate blight through strategic whole block demolition; provide financing and incentives for private investment; and improve the appearance of commercial and industrial areas.

Question 4

Question D: $72 million for Public Infrastructure

The Public Infrastructure Loan provides critical funds for upgrades to public infrastructure including parks, recreation centers, libraries, streets, bridges, courthouses, city office buildings, police stations, fire stations, solid waste facilities, and information technology. The funds match state and federal funds and help maintain systems and infrastructure for which no other fund source exists.

Food Distribution Scales Up in Baltimore


As Baltimore City residents continue to face food insecurity and the demand for groceries and fresh produce persists, food distribution has scaled up throughout the city.

The Baltimore Food Policy Initiative is working in partnership with Coastal Sunbelt and Common Market to provide produce boxes at 57 sites, up from 40 sites this summer, averaging over 43,000 boxes a month.

To date, the City has served over 6.8 million pounds of fresh produce and grocery boxes to food insecure residents. Residents can call 2-1-1 and Maryland Access Point (410-396-2273) for home delivered grocery boxes. 

For additional food resources visit:

Baltimore Children's Cabinet Seeks Input

A year ago, Mayor Young launched the Baltimore Children’s Cabinet.

In its first weeks, the cabinet—in collaboration with community and the Mayor’s Office of Children & Family Success—identified seven priorities to align, focus and guide the city’s work on behalf of children. For each priority, community stakeholders have come together to form a workgroup. 

Now, the City needs your input. For each priority and workgroup, a survey has been launched.

We hope you will join the conversation about what our children need to thrive by completing the surveys for any (or all) of the priority areas. The survey window will run Thursday, October 8 through Sunday, November 8.

The surveys can be found at the links below and

My Home, My Deed, My Legacy Clinic Scheduled for 10/27

MVLS clinic

Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS) and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) are collaborating to deliver estate planning and homeownership resources to Baltimore City residents.

The “Homeowner: My Home, My Deed, My Legacy” program provides ways to navigate the estate administration process, the creation of wills and health care directives, and provides steps to avoid probate.

Volunteer attorneys are available to walk you through the estate planning and deed confirmation process. According to Susan Francis, executive director of MVLS, “We meet so many homeowners who think they legally own their home, but to their surprise, the house wasn’t passed properly and now they aren’t on the deed to their homes. This can make the resident defenseless against losing the home due to tax sale, foreclosure, and limited access to critical programs that can prevent and the home from falling into disrepair. The Homeowner campaign will help ensure that the one wealth-building asset that most families have – their home – is able to stay in their family now and that the home will pass to future generations.”

Income restrictions apply. Visit or call the Homeowner hotline at 443-451-4066 to learn more. It’s your home, your deed, your legacy – protect them today!

New Mural in Park Heights Complements Adjacent Efforts

Creative City mural

Creative City Public Charter School worked with local artist, Iandry Randriamandroso, to paint a mural collaboratively designed by students, parents, staff and neighbors at the school. A full facade mural, completed on August 17, 2020, will contribute to overall beautification and revitalization efforts in our Park Heights community.  Prior to its completion, the school hosted a socially-distant Community Painting Day during the August Ceasefire Weekend in Baltimore where members of the school community were able to contribute to the painting effort.

The project will complement other neighborhood improvements in the Towanda Grantley in Park Heights such as the recently renovated Towanda Recreation Center.” Creative City is also partnering with Parks and People was to green open space on their campus and provide additional opportunities for students!

News From the Office of Sustainability


Recycling Centers are Open!

As of September 27, 2020, the City's Solid Waste Continuity of Service Plan is now in effect, and diverts recycling collections’ crews to trash collections on a full-time basis. During this redeployment, recycling will no longer be collected from residential homes. 

Instead, Community Collection Centers are open to accept recycling in each of the 14 City Council Districts, and five DPW Citizens’ Convenience Drop-Off Centers are available to accept recycling.

Information on Community Collection Center locations and hours is available:

Art Posters

Raising Resident Awareness about Food Waste 

To increase awareness about food waste in Baltimore, the Baltimore Office of Sustainability created culturally appropriate posters - resources that are now available for use.

The Food Matters Baltimore team set out to recreate posters, inspired by WWI era food waste efforts, to reflect the values of our time and the racial demographics of Baltimore. The goal was to center Black and African American communities in the food waste narrative for Baltimore. The art images reflect the diversity of Baltimore as well as of many other cities, towns and jurisdictions across the country. 

For more information on the production of this poster art, including information about the Baltimore-based graphic designers at Matter, visit this site.

City Updates Forest and Tree Conservation Regulations

In 1991, Maryland passed the Forest Conservation Act to establish rules to minimize tree loss during development. To comply with the Forest Conservation Act, the City of Baltimore enacted local legislation to establish the Forest Conservation Program.  

City Council Bill 20-0546 Natural Resources - Forest and Tree Conservation was recently signed into law to update the City’s Forest Conservation code and manual in order to comply with state law, codify existing policies, and to coordinate with other City environmental regulations.  Some of these updates include:

  • Reducing the amount of land disturbance that triggers a review from 20,000 square feet to 5,000 square feet
  • Adding existing specimen tree mitigation and forest conservation easement modification policies to the code
  • Making a Forest Stand Delineation a required element of Site Plan Review and subdivision, grading, and erosion and sediment control approvals
  • Increasing the fee in lieu rate for reforestation or afforestation from $400 per tree to $600 per tree and specimen tree mitigation from $200 per inch to $300 per inch
  • Allowing the creation and use of forest mitigation banks
  • An updated City Supplement to the State Forest Conservation Manual (2020)

The effective date for these updates is December 28, 2020.  This means that any project applying for a permit or paying a mitigation fee on or after December 28 will be subject to the updated regulations and fee rates.  The last business day to apply for a permit or pay mitigation fees under the current regulations and fee rates is December 24th

The full text of the signed ordinance can be found here, and more information about the City’s forest conservation program can also be found here:

Funding Notice: Baltimore National Heritage Area 

Heritage Area

The Baltimore National Heritage Area wants you to be aware of the many funding resources that are available to neighborhood groups this fall. 

The Baltimore Heritage Area Association administers a small capital grant program that makes small, yet strategic, investments in heritage tourism resources within Baltimore City. Funding is available for acquisition, development, preservation, and restoration. 

In addition, Neighborhood Placemaking grants are available. These grants fund performances, festivals and events; planning studies or marketing projects; and activities which green your neighborhood, such as cleanliness and beautification programming.

More information can be found via this link:

Baltimore City DHCD Fall 2020 Request for Proposals


On behalf of the City of Baltimore, the Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) is seeking development proposals for city-owned land in various neighborhoods.

DHCD's Fall 2020 RFP Properties include:

  • 1313 Druid Hill Avenue
    (Marble Hill)
  • 1701 E. North Avenue
    (Broadway East)
  • 4701 Yellowwood Avenue
    (Coldspring Newtown)
  • 5545 Kennison Avenue
    (Grove Park)

All submissions must be received electronically by November 11, 2020

Further information is available:

Upcoming Commission Meetings & Events.

Throughout October  - Doors Open Baltimore

Doors Open Baltimore is going virtual only in 2020 with a month’s worth of programming throughout October.

Organized by the Baltimore Architecture Foundation (BAF), Doors Open Baltimore is the free citywide festival of architecture and neighborhoods that invites thousands of people to explore the city and make meaningful connections to the built environment.

One event, part of Doors Open, of interest is Society's Cage on 10/13. Society’s Cage is a timely installation designed by the architecture firm SmithGroup in partnership with the Architects Foundation in the aftermath of the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor murders as our society reckons with institutional racism and white supremacy. More info available here.

10/8/20 and 10/22/20  - 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

10/13/20 - 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 upcoming meeting is available here.

10/15/20 - 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 UDAAP meetings will be made available here.

10/21/20 - Sustainability Commission 

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

Meetings are held monthly, currently via WebEx, and open to the public. The subject of the October meeting is: Legal Advocacy for Advancing Racial Equity Tools.

city of baltimore

Baltimore City Planning

417 E. Fayette Street, 8th Floor

Baltimore, Maryland 21202


department of planning

Chris Ryer, Director