Baltimore City Department of Planning e-News - September 2021

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the compass - city of baltimore department of planning

Baltimore City Department of Planning eNewsletter  - September 2021

A Message from Chris Ryer, Director


With September here, we're getting ready to launch the sixth cohort of our civic engagement and education program, Planning Academy. We are also beginning to highlight the positive work of our alums through this newsletter - see below for our first "Planning Academy Alumni Making an Impact" highlight below.

We're also looking forward to introducing you to our new and growing team of staff. Over the next few months, several new Community Planners will be joining our team. Keep your eye on this newsletter for their biographies and contact information. They are looking forward to serving you! 

Further, we are currently hiring for two positions with our Sustainability team. Please see below for links to the descriptions and how to apply. The deadline is September 24th, so please pass word along to any local candidates interested in these roles.

Chris Ryer, Director

Planning Academy Alumni Making an Impact: Bree Jones, Parity

Since 2018, 150+ Baltimore City residents have joined the Planning Academy, a small, cohort based civic engagement program which aims to demystify zoning and development review in Baltimore. The program is unique because each small cohort encourages the development of connections, peer learning and community building across City neighborhoods. Each graduate of the Planning Academy is strongly encouraged to share what they learn with their neighbors and friends - to act as an advocate and leader within their neighborhood on issues related to urban planning.

In this new Compass series, we are sharing some of the accomplishments from alumni of the Planning Academy to showcase the breadth of skills and contributions each participant brings to the City of Baltimore.

Parity image

After 3 years of mobilizing social, financial, and capacity-building resources, Parity is breaking ground on its first affordable homeownership project in West Baltimore!

Parity is an equitable development company that acquires and rehabilitates abandoned properties by the block in West Baltimore to remove blight and create community ownership.

At the core of its work is Development Without Displacement - it centers racial equity in its work and acts as a conduit for existing residents to determine the outcome of development in their neighborhoods.

Parity will be breaking ground shortly on the first three buildings in its footprint, and has already pre-sold the buildings to members of its Ownership Collective.

Bree Jones (she/her) is the founder of Parity, an equitable development company that rehabilitates abandoned properties by the block to create affordable homeownership opportunities.

Prior to founding Parity, Bree had a career in finance and investments. Bree has been a lifelong social justice advocate, focused primarily on economic justice, affordable housing, anti-displacement, anti-gentrification, and anti-recidivism. As an advocate, Bree played a pivotal role in the creation of a Community Benefits Agreements in her hometown, and advocated for community protections in local legislation and zoning.

Bree Jones

Learn more about Bree's work and Parity on their website:

Now Hiring: Apply for the Floodplain Manager and Youth Sustainability Coordinator

Baltimore's Office of Sustainability is hiring! Join us as a Flood Plain Manager or a Youth Sustainability Coordinator. Both deadlines are 9/24/21.

The Youth Sustainability Coordinator will support Baltimore’s Cities Connecting Children to Nature initiative (BCCCN). BCCCN is a multi-faceted, multi-partner effort to ensure equitable access to the benefits of nature for all of Baltimore’s youth. 

To apply, please read the position description thoroughly, and send a resume and cover letter to by Friday, September 24, 2021. 

The Floodplain manager will manage riverine floodplain requirements, lead the City’s participation in the Community Rating System (CRS) program, and be part of the team working on emergency preparedness plans, flood control works, and floodplain regulations. Learn more about this role here.


SWHP's new logo!

Community Planning Spotlight: Sandtown-Winchester/Harlem Park Master Plan Process in Full Swing!

With close to 100 stakeholders in attendance for the first virtual meeting, community leaders officially kicked off the planning process for the Sandtown-Winchester/Harlem Park Master Plan in April 2021.

This process is being led by The Sandtown-Winchester Harlem Park Master Plan Collective, which was formed by several community organizations uniting for the common cause of community revitalization. One of the key goals for this planning process is to engage as many different stakeholders as possible - residents, senior citizens, youth and young adults, faith-based organizations, non-profit organizations, and arts and cultural organizations.

Resident volunteer leadership worked with a planning consultant, The V.P.I. Firm, to organize numerous public engagement opportunities in 2021 including hybrid virtual/in-person meetings, a community tour, and a Community Design Jam that was held in Lafayette Square. The Jam, which featured art and music, was an opportunity to map community assets as part of the planning process.

If you are interested in participating or if you want to learn more about the Sandtown-Winchester/Harlem Park Master Plan please visit

The Planning Commission, on January 11, 2018, adopted a policy regarding the recognition of community led plans. This policy exists to clarify the differences between City-managed plans and Community-managed plans. You can read more here

City's Plastic Bag Ban begins October 1, 2021


Don't forget! The plastic bag ban is going into effect on October 1st! Plastic bags will be banned at the point of sale, and businesses will be charging 5 cents for bags given to you by cashiers. Make sure to start bringing your reusable bags with you on your shopping trips starting October 1st!

Learn more —

For Retailers: details on the text of the new law, how it applies to you, how to alert your customers, and what you need to do

For Residents: details on why the law is changing, how this will impact you, and what the city is doing

New Community Association Directory - Update by 9/30

CAD directory

Don't forget! The City of Baltimore has a new Community Association Directory.

Do you have updates for your association? Please update your information by September 30th.

Need to learn more about the changes and how to update your entry? Join us on September 22 at 5:30 PM for a virtual webinar. Please register for this webinar at this link. A link to join the virtual webinar will be sent out a day in advance of the workshop. This webinar will be LIVE and you can ask your questions.

Can't join us on September 22? Watch a recording of the workshop here.

An overview of the Directory and how to register is available online via this link. In addition, there is a Frequently Asked Questions document available for here.

New Census Dashboard Offers Neighborhood Data

The Department of Planning has developed a dashboard to allow you to view preliminary 2020 census data by Neighborhood Statistical Area.

An additional dashboard is available with preliminary population estimates by council district.  Please note that population estimates will be updated once the State re-apportions incarcerated individuals to their last known address for redistricting.

This past year, the 2020 Census was completed during the onset of the pandemic. As a result of the pandemic and other factors, such as a shift from paper forms to online forms, we expect that Baltimore's population was undercounted.  

How to use the Dashboards:

You can select a Neighborhood Statistical Area from the drop down in the top right corner and all of the data on the dashboard will update to show information for that Neighborhood Statistical Area.  You can select more than one NSA if you want to see data for a larger area.  If you want to select a different Neighborhood Statistical Area, be sure to click reset before selecting another NSA.

If you have any questions, please email

More information coming soon:

As additional data and analysis becomes available, we will be sharing information on our webpage and social accounts. 

*Data by census block, aggregated into 2010 Neighborhood Statistical Area Boundary. Results are estimates with up to 1% margin of error.

What We're Reading.

Quick links to interesting reports, articles and opportunities that are on our radar.

  • The Center for Community Progress is looking for professionals in the community development sector to take a survey about their professional and personal pathways to the field. The purpose of the survey is inform tactical strategies to repair and rectify disparities in leadership for the community development sector.  More info via this link.
  • LiveBaltimore is organizing virtual focus groups to understand what motivates potential residents to move to Baltimore. These groups are for non-Baltimore, Black residents who are considering a move. Link is here.
  • Vox news has an interesting feature on the development of "big box" apartment buildings and their perceived and real impact on the surrounding neighborhoods.
  • NCRC just released a report looking at black-owned business in Baltimore and Washington DC. The report analyzes the impact of the Pandemic on these businesses, and their contributions to culture.

SAY IT LOUD comes to Baltimore; features two DOP staff

Baltimore Architecture Foundation, AIA Baltimore, and Bmore NOMA announce SAY IT LOUD Maryland, an exhibition that will spotlight the contributions of diverse design professionals to the built environment. Created by Beyond the Built Environment, the exhibit will feature current Design Planner Ren Southard and former Assistant Director for Planning Laurie Feinberg among 45 Baltimore-based designers and architects.

The exhibit opens October at the Baltimore Center for Architecture and Design - you can register to visit here.


Doors Open Baltimore is Back for 2021!

Baltimore Architecture Foundation and Baltimore Heritage kick off Doors Open Baltimore with Dr. Lawrence Brown, author of The Black Butterfly: The Harmful Politics of Race and Space in America.

This program is hosted on Zoom and Facebook Live. More info here.

trees equity tour

DoP Environmental Planner Amy Gilder-Busatti joins other Baltimore experts to lead tour and discussion on trees & equity on 9/28/21

Join the AIA Baltimore Committee on the Environment + Resiliency (COTE+R) and the Maryland Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (MDASLA) in an exploration of Baltimore’s tree canopy, where you’ll learn the importance of urban trees on both the environment and the community. 

Sign up here:

Movie Night Series Continues at Legends Park in West Baltimore

With fall fresh air, the free Movie Night series at Cab Calloway Legends Park is continuing on Friday, September 24 at 7 pm.

Legends Park is a Baltimore Green Network pilot project located at 2222 Etting Street.

The September film will be “Stormy Weather” which was produced 75 years ago and stars Cab Calloway, Lena Horne, Bill Robinson and the Nicholas Brothers who performed one of cinema’s greatest dance sequences.  

Please bring a chair.


FIVE million new trees by 2031!

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and many other environment and climate partners, have worked with the Maryland General Assembly and established a target of planting 5 million trees in Maryland by 2031, with at least 500,000 of those trees to be planted in underserved urban neighborhoods and communities across the State.

Please join the Chesapeake Bay Trust to shape the Request for Proposals (RFP) that will drive funding and investment decisions related to this new tree planting program in Baltimore. Advocate for trees in your community!

Please join the Trust for one of three virtual listening sessions, for which registration links are below.

Upcoming Commission Meetings.

9/14/2021 - 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.

9/16/2021  - 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

9/22/2021 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.  Info to access the September meeting is here.

09/30/2021 - 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

417 E. Fayette Street, 8th Floor

Baltimore, Maryland 21202


department of planning