Baltimore City Department of Planning e-News - November 2020

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Baltimore City Department of Planning eNewsletter  - November 2020

A Message from Chris Ryer, Director


Last month, our team encouraged all Baltimore residents to vote -- and especially consider voting in support of the GO Bonds that power our capital investments in Baltimore. The early turn out and the overwhelming support for our ballot measures was great to see - our community continues to support the critical infrastructure projects that are needed across Baltimore City.

Also, this month, we will re-open applications for the Planning Academy. Read on below for more details about the program and how to apply - then share with your neighbors and friends who might be interested in the program.

Finally, the National League of Cities highlighted Baltimore City's efforts to secure funding to support an outdoor learning pilot in a blog post -- more on this exciting news in coming months!

Chris Ryer, Director

Planning Academy Concludes 4th Cohort (Virtually!); Applications for Spring 2021 Open November 30

Join the 5th Cohort and Connect with Your Community

In October, the 4th cohort of the Planning Academy concluded with a virtual celebration. The group of nearly 30 participants brings the number of total Baltimore residents that have participated in the program to over 100.

The Planning Academy is a free six-week course with a focus on building community leadership around urban planning, zoning, and development in Baltimore. The course is unique in its laser focus on the functions of zoning and the process of development, and its emphasis on small group learning and community building across neighborhoods.

This Fall, the course went virtual due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Despite these challenges, our participants remained engaged and involved. We were also able to offer one socially distanced tour of the Pump House development in East Baltimore and a new feature - an introduction to real estate finance courtesy of our friends at Harbour Bank CDC.

We will be recruiting for the 5th cohort, with applications open between November 30 and December 14. Please consider sharing with your friends and family!

You may learn more about the Planning Academy experience and curriculum

And you may send your friends and family to apply on - look for the button on the top right of the page!


Public Meeting Notice: Zoning & Signage Amendments  

Signage 2

On November 19, 2020 from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm, the Department of Planning will host a public meeting via WebEx regarding upcoming signage regulation amendments to the Zoning Code. 

In 2018, the Department of Planning spearheaded an effort to rewrite Title 17 of the Zoning Code of Baltimore City, which resulted in City Council Ordinance 18-216 (CCB #18-0272) Zoning - Sign Regulations. 

The new signage regulations took effect in January 2019. This ordinance reflected a complete review and reorganization of Title 17 from the 2016 Zoning Code rewrite that was enacted in June 2017. Since that time, the Department has been evaluating the efficacy of those changes.    

Based on experience and informal user feedback, the Department is drafting a set of amendments to Title 17 to be introduced in 2021. We invite you to hear what we’ve come up with and give us your comments and ideas. 

You may join by computer or smartphone via this WebEx Link. The Meeting password is plan.

Further background information is available via this website.

If you have any questions please contact 

New Asset Manager Joins Planning Team

John Lloyd

John Lloyd joined the Department of Planning in September 2020.  Mr. Lloyd will be working closely with our Capital Improvement Program team. A capital improvement is a long-term investment, typically in physical infrastructure, such as roads, monuments, public buildings, parks, or art. Each year, the Planning Department works with the various City agencies to prepare and present a six-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) to the Board of Estimates.

He is responsible for the implementation of new processes that will provide the Department of Planning and Finance insight into agency-level information about the city’s assets. This data will allow Planning to assess capital projects and ensure that funding decisions are supported by sound data.  

Before joining Baltimore City, John worked for over twenty years as a national wireless carrier project manager. He also served proudly in the United States Army.  John is originally from Washington, DC, but he has called Baltimore his home for the past twenty years. He enjoys Marathoning, Weightlifting and is an automotive enthusiast. John is a proud graduate of Morgan State University. 

News from the Office of Sustainability: Grant Will Expand Resiliency Hubs in Baltimore

Climate change is a growing threat and Baltimore is responding. Disasters and severe weather events disproportionately impact communities of color and historically underserved neighborhoods across the city.

Baltimore's Office of Sustainability has been a leader in organizing Resiliency Hubs across the City. The Resiliency Hubs (see map below for current locations) are run by trusted community organizations where community members can access reliable power for their essential devices and continue to receive information as disruptive events — such as extreme weather and power outages — unfold. 

Through the FY20 Resilient Maryland pilot incentive program, Groundswell, the Baltimore Office of Sustainability, and partners received a grant from the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) to identify and evaluate renewable power systems for potential Resiliency Hub sites. The team has secured funding to evaluate and design up to 30 different Resiliency Hubs throughout Baltimore City. 

The team is seeking churches, community centers, and other organizations in Baltimore to partner with us and potentially serve as community Resiliency Hubs under this grant.

If you are interested, contact Aubrey Germ at the Office of Sustainability at

Resiliency Hubs

What's on the Agenda? UDAAP in November


UDAAP stands for the Urban Design and Architecture Advisory Panel. The 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.

At the November 5 meeting, the Panel discussed the proposed design for following projects:

  • A new Student Center at Johns Hopkins University
  • Portions of the Perkins Homes redevelopment (rendering image above)
  • Phase 1 of Oldtown Redevelopment
  • Center of Hope (Lifebridge)

For each of these projects, the presentations are available for the public to view now, and minutes will be posted later this month.

The next meeting will be on December 10.

Planning Academy Alumni in the News!

Planning Academy logo

Nneka N’namdi (Fall 2020) Founder of Fight Blight B'More, was named a 2020 Celebrate Pro-Bono Award Recipient by the Maryland Volunteer Lawyer Service (MVLS). Ms. N'namdi received a Partnership Award from MVLS. This year, MVLS hosted a virtual presentation to honor all award recipients which can be viewed here.

Bree Jones (Fall 2020) and Monica Lapenta (Fall 2019) were honored as Open Society (OSI) Fellows for 2020, announced in November.

Bree is working to establish Parityan equitable housing development company that is building a collective of motivated individuals who are cooperatively reviving West Baltimore neighborhoods through homeownership, civic engagement, and development without displacement.

Monica will establish Be a Chef for a Day (BaCFaD) Mobile Teaching Kitchen and Training Kitchen to engage North Baltimore youth ages 14 to 21 in culinary education and job training by making fresh meals for people in need.

Upcoming Commission Meetings & Events.

11/18/20 - 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. 

12/3/20  - 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

12/8/20 - 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.

12/10/20 - 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.

city of baltimore

Baltimore City Planning

417 E. Fayette Street, 8th Floor

Baltimore, Maryland 21202


department of planning

Chris Ryer, Director