Baltimore City Department of Planning e-News - March 2021

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the compass - city of baltimore department of planning

Baltimore City Department of Planning eNewsletter  - March 2021

A Message from Chris Ryer, Director



Chris Ryer, Director

Planning Commission Approves CIP Recommendations at March 11th Commission Meeting

And a Joint Briefing with the Sustainability Commission

On February 25, Planning staff presented recommendations for the six-year Capital Improvement Program and the upcoming fiscal year 2022 capital budget. Reports with these recommendations are now available on our website. On March 11th, the Planning Commission voted in favor of these recommendations. The next step in the CIP process will be the Board of Finance vote, for which the meeting date is yet to be determined. Watch this page to find out about future meetings for the ongoing CIP process. 

Also at the March 11th meeting, the Sustainability Commission and Planning Commission hosted a joint briefing on the future of the Less Waste Better Baltimore Plan. During this briefing Department of Public Works staff shared that, through the plan, it could be possible for the city to reach a waste diversion rate of at least 83% by the year 2040. DPW hopes to achieve this through various initiatives and efforts aimed at increasing recycling rates in Baltimore.

Please find the agenda and minutes from the March 11th commission meeting linked on this page.

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

Baltimore Designs Model to Pilot School-Centered Housing to Families


Over the past year, many local and national experts in the fields of affordable housing, family homelessness, education, and community schools developed a Baltimore-specific model for how affordable housing could be used as a lever to improve educational outcomes for elementary-aged children. SCHORE (School-Centered Housing Response Model) proposes that early intervention and ongoing support through an intentional partnership among the school, housing organizations, Baltimore City Housing and Community Development (DHCD), and direct support organizations will improve children’s educational outcomes as well as life outcomes for the participating families.

How will this work? Baltimore City DHCD will partner with affordable housing providers to facilitate the rehabilitation and maintenance of properties near neighborhood schools, and Baltimore City Schools will identify the families of students in need of housing support. The partners intend to implement a pilot with three schools by the end of 2021. The schools, selected through a rigorous process described in the white paper, are Mary E. Rodman Elementary School, Cecil Elementary School, and Calvin M. Rodwell Elementary/Middle School.

This work was made possible by a grant from Fannie Mae to UPD Consulting to work in collaboration with Baltimore Housing and Community Development.To lead this work UPD Consulting was contracted by Fannie Mae to work with Baltimore City DHCD. Read the  press release and download the white paper to learn more about how this collective effort employs the strengths of each of the partners.

Public Comment Period for Howard Street Tunnel Environmental Assessment


The United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration has completed the Howard Street Tunnel (HST) Project's Environmental Assessment in cooperation with the Maryland Department of Transportation and Maryland Port Administration. The assessment is available for public review and comment through March 30, 2021. The HST Project consists of capital improvements to CSX's rail line to allow double-stack trains (trains carrying shipping containers stacked on top of each other) to travel to and from the Port of Baltimore. The EA was conducted in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).


Racheal Wilson Memorial Park Playground Coming Soon

racheal wilson playground

The Racheal Wilson Memorial Park at 145 S. Calverton Road (a Baltimore Green Network pilot project), reached an important milestone this month. Our partner, the Baltimore Dept. of Recreation and Parks posted a sign indicating that the playground will be installed soon! Firefighter Racheal Wilson, who was the first female firefighter to die in the line of duty in Maryland, love playgrounds and would take her own children as well as foster children to different playgrounds to explore and enjoy. The residents of Boyd-Booth along with the Wilson family designed the park and have been working for the last 13 years to get the playground built.   The playground is being funded by Project Open Space funding. The playground will have a firefighter theme.

Zoning Code Updates Continue 

The Planning Department continues to work on updates to the Zoning Code. Our goal is to make sure the code is updated to changes in the City and that it works as intended. The changes fall into those two categories generally. These updates include the signage sections and parking sections as well as general updates and corrections, most of which were introduced to the City Council last year as City Council Bill # 20-0601. We held two public meetings to discuss the proposed changes on March 2, 2021. The presentation of those meetings is here

If you have questions or concerns, please email


Neighborhood Placemaking Grant Winners Announced

bnha neighborhood

The Baltimore National Heritage Area has announced their Neighborhood Placemaking Grant Award winners. A press release with the full list of winners for the 2021 fiscal year can be found here

SCMAGLEV Project Available for Public Review

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced that the Superconducting Magnetic Levitation Project (SCMAGLEV Project) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is available for review and comment at the FRA website or the SCMAGLEV Project website until April 22, 2021.  A choice of one of two stations are being proposed in Baltimore at either the Cherry Hill Light Rail Station, or Downtown Camden Yards.  Comments may be submitted on-line or c/o Lauren A. Molesworth, Maryland Transit Administration, 6 Saint Paul Street, Baltimore, MD 21202.

Upcoming Commission Meetings & Events.

4/01/21  - 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


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.

4/13/21 - 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