Baltimore City Department of Planning e-News - July 2021

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Baltimore City Department of Planning eNewsletter  - July 2021

A Message from Chris Ryer, Director


Two longstanding planners have announced their retirement recently, Laurie Feinberg and Brent Flickinger.  Laurie (see below) was with the Department for 34 years, and has overseen its development review and administrative divisions in the Department for many recent years.  Laurie was described by a former Planning Director as "wicked smart" - a very apt assessment.  Brent, the community planner for the Southern District, was instrumental in the Cherry Hill and Middle Branch planning efforts in recent years.  Both will leave giant voids in the institutional knowledge of the Department.   

We are also close to launching two planning efforts in the City to update our Climate Action Plan and Comprehensive Plan. For both plans, community and resident engagement will be at the forefront. We are encouraging residents to nominate themselves or others to join an Advisory Body for either or both plans. See below for more information on how to join. 

By the end of the summer, I hope you will see new planning faces in the Department, new opportunities to participate in planning for the future of our City, and new initiatives to improve the communities and environment of our City.  Stay tuned! 

Chris Ryer, Director

Laurie Feinberg Retires After 34 Years with Baltimore City Government 


After a 34-year career with Baltimore City, Laurie Feinberg is retiring from her role as Assistant Director for the Department of Planning.

Feinberg's career spanned a number of different roles within the Department of Planning, including urban designer, community planner, division chief and most recently, Assistant Director. 

Laurie began her career in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Trained as an architect at Cornell University, she worked as a designer with an interest in shaping cities. Laurie Feinberg joined the Department of Planning in the 80s, part of a planner "cohort" that also included Director Chris Ryer. As a planner with a design background, she could nimbly move between technical and visual/design work.

According to Director Ryer, “Laurie’s retirement leaves a gigantic hole in the institutional knowledge of the Department.  It will take a team of at least five people pulled together to provide the knowledge and expertise that was in Laurie’s head”.

One of the highlights of Laurie's career was re-hauling the zoning code for the first time in 40 years. This was a once-in-a-lifetime undertaking that modernized the code, making it more predictable and easier to use while also more flexible. The zoning code re-write process also spurred a unique opportunity to examine the zoning code through a public health lens.

During her career, Laurie prioritized community engagement and racial equity. She was a vocal early supporter of the work of DOP's Equity in Planning Committee and the launch of the Planning Academy. She tirelessly worked to engage young people, bringing urban planning into Baltimore City schools during the 2006 Comprehensive Plan outreach process.

Over her multi-faceted career, Laurie Feinberg never stopped working, growing or seeking out ideas that were new and fresh in the planning world.

This summer, Laurie Feinberg is a featured designer as part of the Say it Loud digital exhibit. A collaboration of BMore NOMA, AIA and the Baltimore Architecture Foundation, the exhibit celebrates the work of diverse designers of the built environment in Maryland. The exhibit can be accessed online via this link: This is a project of Beyond the Built Environment, an initiative to elevate the work of minority and women designers and architects.

5th Cohort of Planning Academy Concludes

Planning Academy

On June 30th, the 5th cohort of Baltimore's Planning Academy concluded. Since 2018, 150 community residents have engaged with the Department of Planning and partners to learn about the City's programs and policies as they relate to planning, development and zoning. Baltimore is a city of neighborhoods, and so far, residents representing 92 different neighborhoods have participated in the program.

In the image above, part of the most recent cohort participated in an outdoor site visit to South Baltimore to learn about planned developments near and around Middle Branch.

Eva P. Higgins, CHAP Commissioner and Realtor, Passes

eva p higgins

Recently, we lost another friend to Baltimore. Eva Higgins, a deeply committed historical preservationist and realtor, worked tirelessly to preserve and celebrate the historic neighborhoods of Baltimore. She joined the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation in the early 2000s and became vice chair helping to lead the Commission’s work. 

She was a great communicator of the importance of historic preservation in the revitalization of this city. She understood that preserving Baltimore’s historic neighborhoods is the most successful tool in creating healthy, dynamic communities to enhance the well-being of all Baltimoreans. She will be sorely missed.

Residents Are Encouraged To Apply for An Advisory Council

This coming year, we are offering a NEW opportunity for Baltimore residents to shape the future of our city. Join an Advisory Council and weigh in on the upcoming Comprehensive Plan and the Climate Action Plan.


After the finalization of the 2020 Census, Maryland counties and the City of Baltimore will update their comprehensive plans. Baltimore's Comprehensive Plan (Comp Plan) will guide public policy and planning regarding land use and development. Baltimore's Comprehensive Plan Advisory Council will be composed of residents, government officials and non-governmental stakeholders providing input on the entire planning process over an 18-month time period.

The Baltimore Office of Sustainability is developing an equitable public engagement strategy to support the update of the City's 2012 Climate Action Plan (CAP Update). The goals of the CAP Update include: 1) accelerating local climate awareness and action; 2) strengthening climate planning and policy connections; 3) evaluating new and ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets; and 4) integrating and prioritizing high impact GHG emissions reductions strategies and priority mitigation and adaptation actions from other City plans. A Resident Advisory Council will play an important role in directly supporting the development of the public engagement and plan update strategy.


Apply online or nominate someone to join the Advisory Council

Simply fill out the form via this link to express interest by COB August 6, 2021, or pass this email to someone in your network who should be a part of this team.


Starting MONDAY, July 12: Residents can drop off their food waste for composting at one of DPW's 5 Residential Drop-off Centers! 

Accepted materials will include fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, grains and bread, coffee grounds, and tea bags. 

See full press release:

Capital Improvement Program Updates for 2021

At the end of June, the Department of Planning completed its annual analysis of the Capital Improvement Program using an equity lens. The updated reports is now available on our website. This year, DoP made several important improvements to the process, most notably separating the Department of Public Works projects out from other capital projects to analyze investment in neighborhoods separately.

DoP welcomes the opportunity to provide an overview of the Capital Improvement Program to your neighborhood association or community group. Please contact if you are interested in scheduling a CIP overview. 

Meet the Newest Members of Our Team!

Ava Richardson, Sustainability Manager 

Ava Richardson

Ava Richardson is the new Sustainability Manager for the Baltimore Office of Sustainability. In this role she will lead the implementation of the 2019 Baltimore Sustainability Plan, support the Commission on Sustainability and convene stakeholders across the city to advance sustainability initiatives. Besides her previous work with the Office as a technical adviser for the Baltimore Food Matters program, Ava has over a decade of experience leading public health initiatives, advocating for environmental policies, and managing programs designed to address social inequities. Most recently she served as a project director at the Baltimore City Health Department, leading efforts to address decades of trauma in West Baltimore. Ava holds a BS in Biology from Frostburg State University, an MPH from Morgan State University, and is currently obtaining a DrPH from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Yewande Akinkuowo, Food Access Planner  


Yewande  "Wande" Akinkuowo is a lover of all things food and public health. Wande holds a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Rhode Island and a master’s degree in Health Equity from the University of Maryland College Park. Her decision to study Nutrition came from the desire to learn how to be the healthiest version of herself. Wande has three years of experience in nutrition education, working for university extension programs in both Rhode Island and Maryland. In addition Wande has three years of experience in grants, contracts, and budget development from her last role as a Grants and Finance Project Manager at Children's National Research Institute. In her spare time you can probably catch Wande watching Guys Grocery Games or Hell's Kitchen, her hobbies include creating recipes, food photography, content creation and crossfit.

Lindsay Adams, Food Resilience Planner 


Lindsay earned her Master’s in Health Sciences with a focus on Food Systems, Agriculture, and Sustainability and received a certification in Food Systems, the Environment, and Public health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2019. Before this, she spent 10 years in Colorado where she received her BA in Public Health from the University of Colorado and worked as a community gardener, nutrition educator, and managed two research teams focused on improving food systems in rural and underserved communities. Most recently, she spent two years working as the Program Coordinator for the Accountable Health Communities project at the Baltimore City Health Department. In this role, she served as a project manager, working to improve health outcomes by addressing social determinants of health in clinical settings, and managed BCHD’s public resource directory, CHARMcare. 

1million boxes

Preservation Grant Now Open (thru Aug 6)!

The 2021 Baltimore Historic Preservation Grant is now receiving applications. The deadline is August 6. Information is up on   

Preservation Maryland, in partnership with the Maryland Historical Trust, Baltimore Heritage, and the Baltimore City Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation, are proud to partner for the Baltimore City Historic Preservation Fund. 

A special focus of this initiative is to support projects that not only preserve structures but are also important to neighborhood identity.

Tax-exempt organizations performing work in the City of Baltimore are eligible to apply for recommended grant requests of $1,000-$10,000. Projects must take place in the City of Baltimore.

Projects eligible for the competitive grant funds include: rehabilitation work of historic materials, preparation of National Register nominations, educational, research, and planning efforts related to preservation efforts.

Please contact Jessica Feldt, Preservation Initiatives Manager at with any questions.

July Sustainability Commission Meeting Cancelled 

The Baltimore Office of Sustainability will not host a Commission on Sustainability scheduled on July 21, 2021. The next meeting will take place on August 18th from 4:00 to 6:00 PM, focused on circular economy considerations.

Please feel free to reach out to our team with questions about future meetings in the meantime at

Join Baltimore Data Week 2021!

Baltimore's annual workshop helps neighborhoods access data for their communities will be held online, over the course of a full week in 2021.

Community leaders, nonprofit organizations, governmental entities, and civic-minded technologists will come together to see the latest trends in community-based data and learn how other groups are using data to support and advance constructive change. 

To view the event agenda and register for sessions, please visit

Upcoming Commission Meetings & Events.

07/13/2021 and 08/10/2021 - 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.

07/15/2021  - 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

07/29/2021 - 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.


Baltimore City Planning

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Baltimore, Maryland 21202


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