Baltimore City Department of Planning e-News - November 2021

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the compass - city of baltimore department of planning

Baltimore City Department of Planning eNewsletter  - November 2021

A Message from Chris Ryer, Director


This fall, at the Big City Planning Directors Institute, I heard about various challenges and opportunities facing our peer cities nationwide. I bragged about our new plastic bag ban, our resiliency hubs and our new staff, but I was most impressed by a storymap developed by the Louisville (sorry Preakness) and Jefferson County planning department that examined how the planning profession had contributed to racist land use patterns from its very beginnings in the early twentieth century. The storymap was created to complement an equity review of the land use code, which governs zoning in Louisville and Jefferson County. Our team is studying these examples and others like them across the country, and discussing how these projects can serve as a model for our own work moving ahead.

I would also like to congratulate Holly Arnold for her appointment as Administrator of the Maryland Transit Administration to succeed Kevin Quinn, who was an alumnus of this department. Ms. Arnold has built a crack team of planners at the MTA, and we are fortunate to be able to work with them.

Here at the Planning Department, we are working closely with the Mayor’s Office on the City’s Action Plan, the implementation of the Recovery Plan and beginning the process of updating the City’s decennial Comprehensive Plan – a lot of planning! We couldn’t do it without the many volunteers who put in countless hours on the Planning Commission, the Sustainability Commission, and the Commission on Historic and Architectural Preservation. They make us all look good!

As the holidays approach, please note that Made in Baltimore is opening its latest pop-up shop featuring local makers. The shop will have an opening event on November 18th, see below for more information ---

Chris Ryer, Director

Planning Academy Alumni Making an Impact: Sister Yeshiyah Israel one of several leaders featured in City art exhibit

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. 

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.


Sister Yeshiyah Israel is a lifelong resident of Baltimore City and is President of the Pimlico Merchants Association. 

Sister Israel’s family has been an anchor in the Park Heights community for over twenty years with their businesses, Scott’s & Sons Furniture and YBI African Apparel, the latter of which she is the owner. Sister Israel's journey began "as a young girl watching [her] grandmothers sew, making wedding dresses and my great-grandmother making quilts." 

About her neighborhood, Park Heights, Sister Israel says, "This area is steeped in history. We are building a momentum of pride and ensuring that our streets are safe and clean."

Photo at left taken by West Baltimore cinematographer and photographer, Kirby Griffin, for the Guardians art installation and exhibit.

She is committed to building business and community initiatives in Baltimore by engaging the city’s youth in meaningful beautification projects such as painting murals and cleanup days, using her storefront as a meeting space. Her latest project, Pimlico Market Cafe (PMC), will help address the food desert crisis facing the Southern Park Heights region of Baltimore.

For Sister Israel, equitable neighborhood development is a practice of building and maintaining neighborhoods where all individuals and families can thrive. This means ensuring that development is responsive to the needs of all community members, particularly the most vulnerable. Sister Israel writes, "It is my goal to make the Pimlico Market Cafe accessible to all members of the community. Our healthy foods approach should be shared by all."

You can listen to Sister Israel's full story recorded for the Guardians art exhibit via this link:

The Guardians is a photo documentary and storytelling project developed by artist Whitney Frazier with creative photography by Kirby Griffin. The project including photo portraits, large scale banners, and digital archives that celebrate Black female leaders across Baltimore City neighborhoods.

The exhibit can be viewed at the Carroll Mansion, 800 E Lombard St., Baltimore, MD 21202 through December 19th, as well as through photographic banners on Baltimore’s City Hall, the War Memorial and other historical buildings.

More information and to view images and listen to stories from the Guardians themselves, visit


New Staff Join Community Planning Team

A new roster of Community Planners have joined the Department of Planning Team.

Community Planners are assigned to geographic areas (known as planning districts) and work closely with other City agencies, private citizens, neighborhood and community based organizations, and non-profits.

Community Planners are your first point-of-contact for any questions regarding what is happening in your community. Please see the updated Planning District map for their contact information.


Imani Jasper is the Eastern District Planner, returning home to Maryland after working on property blight in Memphis, TN for three years.  She initially gained an interest in Urban Planning after an activity in which she was challenged to change the layout of a fictional city to help alleviate some of the problems facing the city. That activity continues to influence and shape her problem-solving based approach to city planning.

In her studies, she explored her interest in adaptive re-use, resiliency, and community engagement. Imani graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor's degree in Urban and Regional Studies in 2016 and her Master’s in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University in 2018.  


Jazmin Kimble is the Southern District Planner in the Community Planning & Revitalization Division. Jazmin earned a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies and a Master of Science in Geodesign from Philadelphia University, now Thomas Jefferson University. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Urban & Regional Planning at Georgetown University, where she plans to graduate by 2023.

Prior to joining DOP, Jazmin worked in the private sector specializing in Multimodal Transportation Planning, Urban Design, Environmental Planning, Geospatial Analysis, and Community Engagement. She is passionate about community empowerment and identifying solutions to design and planning challenges to create equitable and sustainable communities, while maintaining its culture and history. In her spare time, Jazmin enjoys traveling and exploring spaces, baking, horseback riding, and the arts.


Mikah Zaslow is the Northwest District Planner for Baltimore City. In this role, she also manages the Pimlico Community Development Authority. She earned her BA from Syracuse University where she double-majored in Geography and Policy Studies, received her Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Michigan, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Prior to working at the Department of Planning, Mikah was a Planner for Baltimore City’s Department of Transportation, worked on affordable homeownership solutions at a national nonprofit in D.C., and got her start in Baltimore as an AmeriCorps VISTA. Mikah lives in Baltimore with her husband and enjoys traveling, taking walks in the city and nature, and hand embroidery.  

2020 Census Data: What Do We Know?

Census Data

While total population is declining, the number of households is increasing.

This is explained by a continuing trend of smaller households, both nationally and locally (1970 national average was 3.14 people per household and 2020 national average is 2.55 people per household).

New data tools are up on our website:

A summary of findings is available via this link.

On Thursday, November 18th, the Made in Baltimore holiday pop up store will re-open in the Remington neighborhood. 

After a pilot in 2015 thru the Industrial Arts Collective, Andy Cook organized the Made in Baltimore initiative through Baltimore's Office of Sustainability. Now housed at Baltimore Development Corporation, Made in Baltimore supports 200+ small businesses across the CIty through pop up shops, branding and business development. 

More information on the website.

Made in Baltimore Store reopens

What We're Reading (& Watching)

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

  • Preservation Maryland is looking for schools of historic significance, including schools designed by an early female or minority architect, or schools that tell the history of racial integration, or tell underrepresented histories. More info via this link.
  • A recent article highlights a QR code piloted by Baltimore's Department of Housing and Community Development, as well as an app under development by Fight Blight B'more. City officials and researchers are using new tech tools to empower tenants, provide info on vacant property, and prevent evictions in U.S. cities. 

  • A project in East Baltimore is adding light art to a one-mile stretch along Gay Street. The Last Mile Park project, led by American Communities Trust, will begin to link the underpasses and connect East Baltimore neighborhoods with better lighting along walking routes. The Last Mile Park plan was accepted in 2019 by the Planning Commission.
  • A new report looks at how the nation’s estimated $23.6 trillion in primary-residence housing wealth breaks down by race and what the wealth gaps mean for households of color more broadly.
  • Pigtown Climbs aim to build community through climbing in Southwest Baltimore.

Applications Due Soon!

DHCD Fall 2021 Invitation for Development Proposals

On behalf of the City of Baltimore, the Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) seeks development proposals for City-owned land in multiple neighborhoods.

All properties can be viewed via this link:

All submissions must be received electronically by 11:59 p.m. (EST) on  Friday, December 17. Submit now.

Apply to be a vendor at Lexington Market!

Lexington Market

After two vendor rounds in 2020 and 2021 that saw more than 350 applications, Lexington Market has approximately 35 committed vendors - 15 of which have been announced so farApplications are being accepted on a rolling basis with a final due date of Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. Interested vendors can apply online here and submit any questions to

Engagement Opportunities this Month

Blue-Green Master Plan in Greater Baybrook

In Greater Baybrook, the Greater Baybrook Alliance, working with a number of collaborators, has launched a public outreach process for the Blue-Green Master Plan. This process is seeking to identify properties for rain gardens, trees, and smart redevelopment of vacant property. More info here: 


Amtrak Meetings Scheduled for 11/18/21 and 11/20/21

Join to learn how the B&P Tunnel Replacement Program will modernize and transform a four-mile section of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.

The proposal includes constructing new roadway and railroad bridges, installing new rail systems and track, and building a new ADA-accessible West Baltimore MARC station.

To register, go to

Upcoming Commission Meetings.

11/9/21 and 12/14/21 - 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.

11/17/21 Sustainability Commission

The Commission on Sustainability is a 21-member body, overseeing the implementation of the Baltimore Sustainability Plan. 

During the November 2021, attendees will gain information on the background and history of the Commission, receive updates from city agencies on their sustainability work and explore new ways to engage with the sustainability efforts across Baltimore. Topics covered will include the citywide Climate Action Plan currently underway, the newly-launched Sustainability and Resiliency Subcabinet, urban agriculture, waste/recycling and food policy.

Meetings are held monthly, currently via WebEx, and open to the public. Meeting agendas can be found here.  Join via this link for November.

11/18/21  - 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

12/9/21 - 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


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