Baltimore City Department of Planning e-News - February 2021

Having troubles viewing this email? View as a webpage.

the compass - city of baltimore department of planning

Baltimore City Department of Planning eNewsletter  - February 2021

A Message from Chris Ryer, Director


February is the month when the Planning Department compiles the City’s capital budget to present to the Planning Commission. The City Charter requires the Planning Commission to “submit for the consideration of the Board of Estimates a recommended capital budget for inclusion in the Ordinance of Estimates, a recommended long-range capital improvement program, and a report explaining both, all of which shall be made public”.

In January you may have seen the eight agencies that participate in the capital program present an overview of their work and their priorities to the Commission for FY22. This month the Commission will attempt to fit those priorities into a pre-determined amount that the City can afford – from its General Fund, from the General Obligation Bonds it has decided it can afford to sell, and the dedicated revenue it receives from water, waste water and storm water utilities.

The Commission has a tough job. Typically, capital need exceeds revenue tenfold, and only through careful management of available funding is the City able to maintain its infrastructure and grow its future.

This year the Planning Commission will hear the initial capital budget recommendations on Thursday, February 25th. Please call or log into the meeting from our web site to see how we have tried to reconcile the priorities of the agencies with the realities of the City and its funding constraints.

For FY 22, we have expanded our commitment to an equitable capital budget by creating an Oversight Committee made up of capital budget agency representatives, and the Office of Equity and Civil Rights, the Council President’s Office, the Department of Finance, and the Mayor’s Office. This team tested new evaluation criteria and a process to score projects. Look for more about updating the CIP evaluation criteria in the next few months.

The planning and rebuilding of Baltimore never stops, and this is one way you can participate in its future.

Chris Ryer, Director

Capital Improvement Program (CIP)

Updates from the January 14th and 21st CIP presentations, and an upcoming Planning Commission work session on February 25th. 

On January 14 and January 21 the Planning Commissioners heard an overview of the City's financial situation and Capital Improvement Program (CIP) priorities. Each capital budget agency presented its capital project requests to the Planning Commission, describing how these projects will help them make progress on citywide goals and explaining the details of each request. Details have been posted to the Planning Department's Capital Improvement Program website. For each agency, you can find a written introduction to the agency, slides and videos from the agency presentations, and reports listing details of each request, including a title, location, short description, and the total amounts (by source of funds) being requested. 

With Planning Commission feedback, Planning staff is now working hard to make recommendations about which projects to prioritize with the limited funds available for capital projects. Staff will present these recommendations to the Planning Commission in a public working session on February 25, 2021. The Planning Commission will take its final vote on which projects it recommends funding on March 11, 2021. Visit our Get Involved page to see the full schedule. Final agendas/schedules for the February 25 and March 11 sessions are posted to the Planning Commission website two weeks prior to the meetings. 

For any questions or feedback that you have on the process, priorities, or anything capital budget-related, you can email

News from the Office of Sustainability

Two Resiliency Hubs Receive Solar and Battery Storage 


The new solar panels at City of Refuge Baltimore. This project was coordinated through the city's Resiliency Hub Program, which is managed by our Office of Sustainability.

Rooftop solar power and battery storage systems were recently installed at two of our Community Resiliency Hub partner sites: Stillmeadow Community Fellowship in the Beechfield Neighborhood of Southwest Baltimore and City of Refuge in the Brooklyn Neighborhood of South Baltimore. These installations were made possible through a grant from the Maryland Energy Administration and a partnership with Groundswell, Inc., AFMensah, and Suncatch Energy.This is an exciting advancement for the Community Resiliency Hub Program! 

Community Resiliency Hubs are frontline community-based and faith-based organizations located in low-income communities of color that partner with the City to help their neighborhoods become more resilient to the impacts of climate change and other hazards. They seek to provide community-centered emergency support, resources, and services to their most vulnerable neighbors. The solar and battery storage capabilities serve to lower utility costs for the organization, improve their ability to remain operational and serving their community during power outages or crisis situations, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and bring renewable energy and back-up power to communities that might not otherwise have access. 

If you have any comments or questions about the Program, please reach out to Aubrey Germ, Climate and Resilience Planner, at

Renovations at the Cab Calloway Legends Park

legends park fencing

Changes are coming to the Cab Calloway Legends Park. In January, the fencing along the even side of 2200 block of Druid Hill for Cab Calloway Legends Park (a Baltimore Green Network pilot project) was put up. The fencing was done in partnership with Druid Heights Community Development Corporation who contracted with Jubilee Arts to hire Gary Mullens, a Baltimore-based artist, to paint the fencing as a piano keyboard to reflect the legacy of Cab Calloway.

On top of this new addition, the Baltimore City Board of Estimates has just approved a $200,000 grant from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to the Baltimore City Department of Planning to remove the street surface of the 2200 block of Etting and the associated alleys in connection with the Cab Calloway Legends Park. The Cab Calloway Legends Park is part of the Baltimore Green Network and will be operated by Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks.

For more information on the Cab Calloway Legends Park Renovations, contact Kimberley M. Knox, Greening Coordinator at, 410-396-5902

Upcoming Floodplain Code Revisions

The city continues the process of updating its floodplain policy, with the next step being a Planning Commission hearing on February 25th. 

FEMA released a new DFIRM, or Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map, based on new flood data for Baltimore City in 2018, and since then the City has been following the necessary steps for the new maps to become effective by 6/16/2021 as required by FEMA. As part of the adoption process, the City also plans to update its floodplain policy (Article 7, Division 1 of the City Code) based on FEMA requirements and with the intent to make the Code more transparent and implementable.

The Department of Planning Office of Sustainability hosted two virtual meetings on 1/12/2021 where we presented the proposed changes. The draft Floodplain Code was posted for public comment from 1/4/2021 to 1/31/2021. The next steps for the adoption process include a Baltimore City Planning Commission hearing on 2/25/2021, and City Council hearing (date to be determined).

If you have any questions about the Floodplain Code revision and map adoption process, please reach out to or

Art Connects Students with Nature in Park Heights

pimlico wayfinding

With funding from the Pimlico Community Development Authority, artists Whitney Frazier and Graham Coriel-Allen (along with DOP, BCRP, Cylburn Friends, and Cylburn Combined Communities) have begun designing wayfinding public art in order to connect Pimlico Elementary/Middle school students with nearby natural resources. The Pimlico Elementary/Middle School INSPIRE plan seeks to improve the connection between Pimlico Elementary/Middle School and three important recreational, natural, and educational assets: the Cylburn Arboretum and Jones Fall Trail to the east and C.C. Jackson Recreation Center to the west. Despite being located just one-half mile from any of these Baltimore gems, there was found to be little physical or social connection between Pimlico Elementary/Middle School students and these locations. 

Installation of Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly signs and stencils of flowers along Oakley Avenue has begun and will be completed in early 2021.   

For more information on Wayfinding Public Art in Park Heights, please visit Whitney Frazier’s Park Heights Pathways website:

CHAP Commissioner and Preservation Developer Bettyjean C. Murphy Dies

bettyjean c murphy

Betty Jean Murphy was a CHAP Commissioner in the mid to late 1990s and the first African American woman developer in Baltimore city. Murphy helped usher in several local historic districts, the tax credit program, and the establishment of Baltimore National Heritage Area.  She was also one of the first developers to use historic preservation as a development tool in African American neighborhoods. She shared freely her expertise with CHAP and its staff, teaching us how to preserve in challenging neighborhoods. Her insights have helped shape CHAP staff’s view on historic preservation in Baltimore, especially teaching us where to put our preservation dollars and what to restore to unlock the historic characteristics dampened by deterioration.  She saw potential beauty where others saw blight. Baltimore is better off because of her. She will be missed.

HAP Thanks Mr. Tony Clark, the "Graffiti Removal Guru"

mr. tony

The Department of Planning Historical and Architectural Preservation staff (HAP) thanks the “Graffiti Removal Guru,” Mr. Tony Clark from the Department of Public Works, for leading a training on graffiti removal for Planning and Downtown Partnership staff.  This training is just the beginning of a partnership between CHAP and Downtown Partnership to remove graffiti in the downtown area. HAP staff will be a resource to help Downtown Partnership identify the appropriate techniques for removing graffiti. We all look forward to working together to keep Downtown Baltimore looking great! Thank you, Mr. Clark, for your insightful demonstration.

Public Meetings Notice: Conversions and General Zoning Updates/Signage Amendments

Residential Conversions - Public Informational Meeting

On Wednesday, February 10 at 6pm the Department of Planning will hold a public meeting to discuss and gather feedback in advance of a Planning Commission hearing on City Council Bill #21-0009. Bill #21-0009 proposes to change the procedure for the conversion of single-family dwellings to multi-family dwellings in the R-7 and R-8 Zoning Districts. Specifically, the bill proposes to eliminate the requirement for such conversions to obtain an ordinance of the Mayor and City Council. It also seeks to add a new "Efficiency Unit" dwelling as a permitted unit type. Please check our website and future eblasts for updates on the Planning Commission hearing date.

You may join by computer or smartphone at:

Meeting Password: Plan

For more information on the Residential Conversions Meeting, please contact

General Zoning Updates/Signage Public Informational Meetings

On March 2nd, the Department will host two options for the General Zoning Updates/Signage meetings at 12:30pm and 6:00pm. Both are updates from efforts begun in 2020. The general zoning updates portions is to update on the content and timing of CCB #20-0601, which did not pass last session, but will be reintroduced. The signage portion will update everyone on where we are with drafting signage amendments and how we are addressing the feedback received. The information on both meetings is as follows:

Join March 2nd 12:30 pm meeting at:

Meeting Password: Plan

Join March 2nd 6:00pm meeting at:

Meeting Password: Plan

For any questions regarding the March 2nd meetings, please contact Further background information is available via this website.

Wondering What's Proposed for The Vacant Lot at Madison Park North?

madison park lot

The proposed plan for Madison Park includes a mix of townhouses, apartments, and commercial space. See below for the proposed developments. 

madison park plans

Locations of proposed building A and neighborhood park

madison park plans

Locations of proposed buildings B and C

Upcoming Community Police Training Workshop

cp training

21st Century School Ribbon Cuttings 

21st century school

On Wednesday January 27th, Baltimore City Public Schools hosted a virtual ribbon cutting ceremony and tour for three new school buildings built through the 21st Century School Buildings Program. The virtual ribbon cutting ceremony and celebration for these three school buildings, Walter P. Carter Elementary/Middle School, Lois T. Murray Elementary/Middle School, and Medfield Heights Elementary School, can now be viewed on the Baltimore City Public Schools Youtube channel. 

Click here to view the celebration!

INSPIRE Job Opening

INSPIRE job opening

We're expanding the INSPIRE Team! Stay tuned on DOP's social media for the INSPIRE Planner job posting (we hope by the end of the month). In the meantime find out more about the program on our web site

Northwest Playground On Its Way To Becoming the Rochelle "Rikki" Spector Playground

rikki spector

City Council Bill 21-0008 was approved by the Planning Commission on February 4, 2021 for the purpose of naming the Northwest Playground on Rodgers Avenue in Mount Washington, the Rochelle ‘Rikki’ Spector Playground. 

The bill was presented at the City Council Economic and Community Development hearing on Tuesday February 9th at 2 pm, where it was favorably recommended by all those present. 

Councilwoman Rochelle “Rikki” Spector was first appointed to the Baltimore City Council in June of 1977 to fill the term of her husband, who vacated the seat after accepting a judicial appointment.  Two years later, Rikki was elected to the seat in her own right.  She was subsequently re-elected to represent her Northwest Baltimore district a record-setting nine more times.  Her nearly forty years in office earned Rikki the distinction of being the longest locally elected official in the State of Maryland, as well as the title “Dean of the Baltimore City Council.”

Department of Public Works RFI for Waste Reduction and Diversion 

The Baltimore City Department of Public Works has issued a Request for Information for citywide waste reduction and diversion activities. If you think your businesses or nonprofit could partner with the City of Baltimore to reduce waste citywide, please visit and consider responding to this RFI.

Upcoming Commission Meetings & Events.

2/17/21 - 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. 

2/25/21  - Planning Commission Work Session

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

3/09/21 - 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 meeting will be available here.


Baltimore City Planning

417 E. Fayette Street, 8th Floor

Baltimore, Maryland 21202


department of planning