Baltimore City Department of Planning e-News - June 2021

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the compass - city of baltimore department of planning

Baltimore City Department of Planning eNewsletter  - June 2021

A Message from Chris Ryer, Director


The pandemic has changed a lot of lives, and it’s changed ours at the Planning Department. A number of our planners have retired or moved on, and we are now recruiting. We’ve been working hard to broaden the qualifications necessary to work at the Department and are starting to see results. We also have two non-planning positions that will be opening soon, a new Floodplain Manager position and a one-year outreach position for the Office of Sustainability.

In this era of accelerating climate change, the role of the Office of Sustainability is accelerating too. Both riverine and tidal flooding are increasing in frequency and severity. The Floodplain Manager position works with property owners, developers, the Office of Emergency Management and FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It also maintains the City’s Community Rating System (CRS), a FEMA rating system that can result in substantial insurance savings for City property owners.

The Climate Community Engagement Fellow is a full-time, contractual position to lead the development of an equitable community outreach strategy for the update of the 2012 Climate Action Plan, a key component of the Sustainability Plan. The position requires the ability to think strategically, expand connections to outside organizations, work with diverse populations, and foster linkages between climate change, public health and community resilience.

Check our web page to see how to apply for these positions!

Chris Ryer, Director

All About Baltimore's Community Resiliency Hub Program 

An Interview with Aubrey Germ, Community Resiliency Hub Program Manager

Stillmeadow hub

If you’ve been reading the Compass for a while, you may have seen us occasionally provide updates on the progress of Baltimore’s Community Resiliency Hub Program (CRH Program). The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Resilience Toolkit defines resilience as “The capacity of a community, business, or natural environment to prevent, withstand, respond to, and recover from a disruption.” But what exactly is a Community Resiliency Hub, and what purposes can they serve in our communities? To answer these questions for those who are curious we spoke to Aubrey Germ, Climate and Resilience Planner and CRH Program manager at the Baltimore Office of Sustainability.

Over an afternoon phone call, Aubrey explains that the CRH Program has existed for around six years, and that the basis of the Resiliency Hub is the local service-based community organization. This could mean a faith institution or a local non-profit organization.

“[These organizations] already have strong leadership in their communities and are doing amazing grassroots level work to support vulnerable community members,” Aubrey explains.

“When they join the CRH Program they basically agree to partner with the City to receive additional support to enhance their own operating capacity and increase the scope of the work that they are able to do in emergency situations.”

The emergency situations that Resiliency Hubs aim to handle can range from individual emergencies to community-wide emergencies, such as those which would be caused by a natural hazard like a flood or extreme heatwave. To increase resilience and resource delivery in the face of emergency, the CRH Program connects Hub partner organizations to Baltimore’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM).

Aubrey describes the relationship between the OEM and the Resiliency Hubs as such: “If and when something happens, the Emergency Management Office knows which organizations are Hubs and therefore, which ones are willing to help get information and resources out to their vulnerable neighbors.”

The CRH Program also offers solar power to those Resiliency Hubs that can host solar panels and battery storage. The purpose of the solar and battery storage initiative, which is largely grant-funded, is to ensure that when there are power outages, the Resiliency Hub partner organizations will have backup power to continue providing critical services for community members. It also helps reduce utility costs for the organization.

“It takes a lot of time, grant funding, and coordination to roll out, but the Hubs that are able to be outfitted with solar and battery storage can then operate when the power goes out and continue providing critical support, including refrigeration for food or medication, or cell phone charging,” Aubrey says of the solar power initiative.

There are currently twelve resiliency hubs in Baltimore City, but the program is rapidly expanding. When asked whether the Resiliency Hubs are established as a result of the city government reaching out to community organizations or vice versa Aubrey responds, “It’s been both.”

Communities and city council members alike have reached out to city government in order to connect with more resilience-building and emergency preparedness resources through the CRH Program. Aubrey has also attended community meetings to hear from residents on which organizations could be great Hubs. She explains that she has been “working with other

planners in the Department of Planning to better understand what organizations and faith groups could be ideal Resiliency Hub partners.”

Two measures by which Aubrey and other planners determine which organizations would make good resiliency hubs are (1) strong leadership and (2) a strong connection to the community it serves. An equally important measure is socioeconomic and/or environmental vulnerability.

“[The process of searching for Resiliency Hub partners has] also been looking at vulnerability maps to better understand where vulnerability exists in the city,” Aubrey explains, “[and] seeing which community organizations might be nearby which could serve as Hubs because there’s high exposure risk in that area.”

Lately, Aubrey has also been monitoring which organizations have been the most responsive to their communities during the pandemic and has been actively reaching out to them in order to establish a partnership.

One of the most important notes about the Resiliency Hubs is that they serve as a key link between city government and communities, and, as such, they provide opportunities for communities and city government agencies to exchange information about needs, goals, and resilience.

“[The Resiliency Hubs] are trusted messengers around preparedness and risk as it pertains to climate, and they can also really help message around what building local resilience looks like.” Aubrey continues, “At its core it’s a two-way mutual partnership between city government agencies, with the Planning Department at the helm, and grassroots community-based organizations that are at the forefront of safety and support in their communities.”

Questions about the Community Resiliency Hub Program? Email:

DHCD Calling for Expressions of Interest for Property Development 

eoi 2021

Baltimore City’s Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) is issuing a call for expressions of interest (EOI) to develop several city-owned properties.  DHCD is seeking submissions from experienced developers for 12 strategic locations, seven of which are former school buildings. The City aims to continue ongoing, large-scale revitalization efforts through promoting properties in locations that are primed for redevelopment and seeks to determine potential re-use opportunities for these sites. Through the EOI process, the City will establish a list of interested, qualified firms, which could lead to the issuing of Requests for Proposals.

The following properties are included in the current EOI:

  • Castle Street Bundle (1900 blocks of N. Castle and N. Chester St. and 2025 E. 20th St.)
  • North Mount Street Bundle (517-541 N. Mount Street)
  • Reisterstown Road Bundle (4419 and 4431 Reisterstown Road)
  • 301 N. Pulaski Street (Lockerman Bundy)
  • 411 E. Old Cold Spring Lane (Guilford)
  • 800 Poplar Grove Street (Alexander Hamilton)
  • 1101 Winston Avenue (Winston)
  • 1200 N. Fremont Avenue (Pinderhughes)
  • 1600 E. Arlington Avenue (Lois T Murray)
  • 1630 N. Patterson Park Avenue
  • 1807 Harlem Avenue (Harriet Tubman)
  • 2650 Quantico Avenue

The deadline to submit an EOI for the listed properties is Tuesday, July 28, by 11:59 p.m. (EST).   Learn more.

Learn more about surplus schools here.

Presentation on Victorine Q. Adams at the Cab Calloway Legends Park 

dr. ida e jones

Cab Calloway Legends Park, a Baltimore Green Network pilot project,  kicked off its season with a presentation on Baltimore City's first female Black Councilmember Victorine Q. Adams on June 5.  The presentation was co-sponsored by Druid Heights Community Development Corporation and the Baltimore Dept. of Planning. 

Dr. Ida E. Jones, author of "Civil Rights Leader Victorine Q. Adams,"  spoke to the crowd about Councilmember Adams' legacy.  Several highlights of Councilmember Adams' career included voter registration drives to register more Black voters and helping to elect Black candidates to local and state offices. This would include Harry Cole who became Maryland's first male Black State Senator in 1954 and Verda Welcome who became the first female Black candidate to become a State Senator in the United States when she was elected to the Maryland State Senate in 1962. Councilmember Adams also mentored politicians such as former Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congressman Kweisi Mfume.  Councilmember Adams helped to get the Social Security Office located in downtown Baltimore in order to bring more jobs to the city's residents as well, and started the private-public Baltimore Fuel Fund to help families stay warm during the winter months. 

victorine adams et al

From left to right, Dr. Ida E. Jones, presenter, Druid Heights CDC Executive Director Anthony Pressley, and Patterson-Asbury AME Zion Church's Pastor Ingrid Gant

Join the Cities Connecting Children to Nature team for the Nature Nurtures 2021 workshop series! 

nature nurtures

The Baltimore Office of Sustainability's Nature Natures workshop series begins on June 18th! From mid-June through early July, the Cities Connecting Children to Nature team is organizing a dozen workshops designed for formal and informal educators, childcare providers, youth, and health professionals to foster cross-sector connections around healing from trauma and connecting to the natural world. 

The first two events, taking place on June 18th, are Youth and Mental Health: A Conversation  (lead by the Black Mental Health Alliance), and It’s all connected! Re-connecting Nature, Academics, The Arts, and SEL (lead by InDiGO).

Find the Nature Nurtures Workshop series schedule at this link!

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Upcoming Commission Meetings & Events.

06/24/2021  - 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

TBD - 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. Meeting agendas can be found here

07/8/2021 - 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.

07/13/2021 - 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


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