Revised: Baltimore City Department of Planning e-News - January 2021

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the compass - city of baltimore department of planning

Baltimore City Department of Planning eNewsletter  - January 2021

A Message from Chris Ryer, Director


Happy New Year!

As we begin 2021, the Office of Sustainability is working to promote Baltimore's plastic ban launch, which will go into effect on July 9th. This ban was finalized via legislation signed by Mayor Young in January 2020, last year. 

In Baltimore, and in cities across America, plastic bags clog up our drains and streams, and are a major source of trash. In our city, there have been discussions to ban the bags since at least 2006. Through the legislation passed last year, Baltimore joins Montgomery County, Howard County, and other Maryland jurisdictions in banning plastic bags. In fact, as of 2019, there were 400 different bans or plastic bag taxes in the United States. 

There are plenty of skeptics regarding the bans, but the Natural Resources Defense Council published a solid summary of the key debates and a response. A comprehensive database of studies evaluating plastic bag laws can also be reviewed via this link.  Finally, there's also been broad discussion regarding how an equity lens can be applied to this issue, both in Baltimore and across the country - a good summary of one city's (Providence, RI) experience can be reviewed here. 

For additional details and resources related to Baltimore's ban, please visit the Office of Sustainability via this link.

Chris Ryer, Director

Baltimore's Plastic Ban Begins this July

On July 9, Baltimore’s Plastic Bag Ban will go into effect. To help neighbors and businesses prepare, please review and share the following information: 

Why a ban on plastic bags? Banning the use and spread of plastic bags will decrease litter, prevent storm drain blockages and reduce our city’s carbon footprint to combat climate change. Fewer plastic bags in circulation is an important step towards a cleaner and greener Baltimore

What types of bags can I use? Reusable bags can be used when you shop at the supermarket, convenience store, restaurant, service station of any other sales outlet. Compostable plastic and paper bags can be used at a cost of 5 cents per bag. 

Will any free reusable bags be available? A limited number of free reusable bags will be distributed to residents with accessibility challenges.  

For more information on the plastic bag ban or to receive resources for your business, please log onto 

The graphic below has been revised to reflect the updated date.

Revised date

News from the Office of Sustainability

Curbside Recycling to Resume


The Department of Public Works (DPW) has now announced that curbside recycling will resume in Baltimore City on January 19th.

Last year, as sanitation workers across the city became stressed due to short staffing, in part due to COVID, and high volumes of trash, the Department of Public Works decided to suspend curbside recycling.

As you wait for curbside recycling to resume, you can still bring your recycling to your local collection center on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 7am to 3pm, Tuesday and Thursday from 7am to 6pm, and Saturday from 8am-2pm.

New Allendale Community Playground Nears Completion


A new playground is being built in SW Baltimore's Allendale community. The playground is the result of the INSPIRE planning process around Mary E. Rodman Elementary School

Through the 21st Century Schools Initiative, Baltimore City Public Schools is investing nearly one billion dollars to renovate or replace schools over the next several years.

The Department of Planning launched INSPIRE (Investing in Neighborhoods and Schools to Promote Improvement, Revitalization, and Excellence), focusing on the neighborhoods surrounding each school part of the 21st Century Schools initiative. 

The playground design process was led by Kaboom and involved children form Mary E. Rodman Elementary School.

If you have questions about this planning process or the playground, please contact, Kyle Leggs (Southwest District Planner) at 410-396-4135.

Capital Improvement Program (CIP)

The Capital Improvement Program will be a focus of the Planning Commission meetings in January.


On January 14 & 21, the Planning Commission will hear from city agencies about their capital budget needs, project requests and priorities. All meetings and presentations will be live-streamed. A detailed schedule for these agency presentations is available here.  

The capital budget includes long-term investments, typically in physical infrastructure, such as roads, monuments, public buildings, parks, or art. 

The capital budget process starts with agencies requesting funding for specific projects. Those requests are now posted here. While the total amount requested exceeds the amount available for capital projects, the requests give an indication of specific needs and priorities for the City’s capital budget agencies. 

Please tune in to hear these important discussions about the City's infrastructure and capital needs. Contact with any questions.  

News from CHAP: State Historic Tax Credit Awards Announced

Image of CHAP projects awarded historic credits

In January, the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT), a division of the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning), awarded seven projects statewide more than $9 million in tax credits.

Three of the seven projects are Baltimore City-based; the investments will support the re-development of these historic structures:

  • Baltimore Traction Company Car Barn: The Classical Revival style Baltimore Traction Company Car Barn was constructed in 1890-1891, and is associated with the development of the city’s cable and electric streetcar systems. The project will rehabilitate the existing building into mixed commercial use, featuring retail, offices, and community programming.
  • Eastern Pumping Station: The rehabilitation of these buildings is part of a larger project, already underway, that will reimagine the site as the Baltimore Food Hub, a campus designed to bring jobs and neighborhood amenities back to this neighborhood.
  • P.S. 103 Henry Highland Garnet School (image above): Upon rehabilitation, the building will serve as a community landmark for public meetings, community programming, office space, and to showcase historic memorabilia of both Justice Thurgood Marshall and The Honorable Elijah Cummings.

What We Are Reading.

A quick selection of recent links to articles of interest.

"When planned segregation through racially restrictive zoning was deemed illegal by the Supreme Court in 1917, St. Louis’s first planning engineer, Harland Bartholomew, proposed using single-family zoning to achieve the same end. The principle was simple: Make housing artificially expensive through minimum lot sizes and detached structures, and cities would segregate by class and race."

Now Hiring for Two Roles - Design Planner and Sustainability Manager

Hiring 2021

The Department of Planning is currently recruiting for two roles. These positions will be open until 1/11/21.

The Design Planner position will focus on the downtown Baltimore. This will include inner harbor/Harbor East, as well as the redevelopment sites of Perkins/Old town/Somerset. The Planner in this role will facilitate the development review and design review process for these areas.

The Sustainability Manager position will focus on tracking and overseeing the implementation of the 2019 Sustainability Plan. 

Design Planner II Apply Here // Detailed Description

City Planner Supervisor (Sustainability Manager) Apply Here // Detailed Description

All career opportunities with Baltimore City are also posted via this link.

Save the Date! Flood Code Meetings Scheduled for January 12

flood plain

On January 12, consider joining the Baltimore Office of Sustainability for a meeting regarding upcoming changes to Baltimore's FEMA issued Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMS) maps.

FEMA produces Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) to identify areas that are at risk of flooding. 

There are two meetings scheduled for January 12 - one at 10 AM and one at 6 PM. Please join the one that works better for your schedule.

More information is available via this link, as well as an opportunity to provide feedback.

Join the 10 AM online via this link.

Join the 6 PM online via this link.

Upcoming Commission Meetings & Events.

1/7/21 & 1/28/21 - 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, meeting notes, and presentations for UDAAP meetings are made available here.

1/12/21 - 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.

1/13/21 - Sustainability Commission 

The Commission on Sustainability is a 21-member body, overseeing the implementation of the Baltimore Sustainability Plan. The January meeting focuses on "Legal Tools to Advance Racial Equity".

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

1/14/21 & 1/21/21  - 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


Baltimore City Planning

417 E. Fayette Street, 8th Floor

Baltimore, Maryland 21202


department of planning