Baltimore City Department of Planning e-News - January 2022

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the compass - city of baltimore department of planning

Baltimore City Department of Planning eNewsletter  - January 2022

A Message from Chris Ryer, Director


This year, the Department of Planning is preparing to launch the Comprehensive Plan for the City of Baltimore - Our Baltimore - in response to the 2020 Census data release. The Comprehensive Plan was last updated and adopted in 2006 and was intended to guide urban planning and development for ten years - so our upcoming process will take into consideration the many shifts in Baltimore's landscape since then.

The plan and process is called Our Baltimore to reflect our commitment to incorporating the voices, ideas and recommendations from Baltimore residents across our many neighborhoods. We need you, our community in Baltimore, to lead this process. There are several opportunities to get involved in a leadership role, all of which will be compensated, outlined in the newsletter below. 

Chris Ryer, Director

Seeking Engagement Partners: Baltimore's Comprehensive Plan Launch Planned for Spring

The Department of Planning is starting work on a Comprehensive Plan, Our Baltimore, with a public launch planned for April. 

Baltimore’s next Comprehensive Plan will guide equitable neighborhood development over the next 10 years and beyond.  

The Comprehensive Plan asks, how can we make Baltimore an inviting place for residents so that our residents: 

  • Want to stay 
  • Benefit from staying 
  • Invite and encourage their family and friends to live in Baltimore 

Lead Engagement for the Comprehensive Plan

In advance of our public launch, we are looking for engagement partners. We are prioritizing compensating all partners for their time and expertise. We have a range of opportunities - for community-led organizations, residents who want to organize alongside their neighbors, and people who may be interested in exploring urban planning as a career path. Learn more about all these opportunities via this link.

Community-based organizations – we invite you to join our engagement leadership team. 

Members of this team will form a network of community-based organizations from across Baltimore. Each will design and implement an engagement strategy to fit the needs of the community they serve and know. All organizations will be compensated for their time and expertise. Please submit your proposal by Friday, February 18, 2022. For more information, please see this informational sheet. 

**Additional Opportunities to Get Involved Coming Soon** 

Community Design Fellows: This part-time opportunity is for Baltimore-based students and other community members interested in exploring an urban planning career pathway. A focus of this fellowship will be engaging the youth voice. More information will be posted on our career page in February 2022.  

Resident Storytelling Ambassadors: This effort aims to amplify community voices. Storyteller Ambassadors will capture the wide range of experiences living in Baltimore City. The stories recorded will influence and shape the recommendations in Our Baltimore. More information forthcoming in March 2022. 

Office of Sustainability Announces Grantees

Environmental Offset Grant Recipients Announced

Each year the Office of Sustainability awards grants for environmental projects using some of the funds collected as mitigation for development projects with environmental requirements.  For 2021, funds were awarded from both the Critical Area Management Program fund and the Forest Conservation fund.  This grant opportunity is intended to encourage existing and prospective grantees to develop exciting ideas for projects that will restore and expand our tree canopy and urban forests, improve the quality of our waterways, and improve quality of life and in Baltimore. The following 11 projects were funded:

  • Creating a Green, Outdoor Education Space in an Urban Setting - Baltimore Community Tool Bank
  • Engagement, Edge Management, & Equity through Urban Forest Restoration - Baltimore Green Space
  • 21st Century Green School Campuses Initiative - Baltimore Tree Trust
  • Baltimore Harbor Water Quality Monitoring Program - Blue Water Baltimore
  • Tale of Two Gardens (Tree and Pollinator Gardens Enhancement) - Charm City Land Trusts, Inc.
  • Masonville Cove Environmental Education Programming  - Living Classrooms Foundation
  • Johnston Square Environmental Clean and Green Apprenticeship - Rebuild Johnston Square Neighborhood Organization
  • Tench Tilghman Environmental Restoration Project - Southeast Community Development Corporation
  • The Stillmeadow Peace Park - Stillmeadow Community Projects, Inc.
  • Broadway East Greening Initiative - The 6th Branch
  • The Great Baltimore Oyster Partnership - Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore

New Staff Join CP&R and Sustainability

More new staff have joined the Department of Planning. In each newsletter, we will introduce you to them.


Jaffa Batya Weiss is an INSPIRE Planner for the Community Planning and Revitalization (CP&R) Division.

Jaffa graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Environmental Studies from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. She went on to get a Master of Public Administration from Clark University and a Master in City and Regional Planning from Morgan State University.

Prior to joining the CPR team, Jaffa worked as a Project Manager for the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. She got her start in Baltimore over a decade ago as an AmeriCorps member. Jaffa lives in Baltimore City with her family and in her free time enjoys exploring new cities, improving her cooking skills, and has a dream of producing an urbanist podcast one day.


Joanna Birch is the new Floodplain Manager for the Office of Sustainability. She is Maryland born and raised. She's originally from St. Mary's County and grew up surrounded by water! She has more than a decade of experience working in data-driven mapping and environmental compliance in both public and private sectors.

Joanna holds a BS in Environmental Science from the University of Maryland, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Goucher College, and a Master's Certificate in Geographic Information Science from Penn State University. Her interests and hobbies include gardening and houseplants, spending time on the water, anything crafty, and making maps.

Recycling Updates

Department of Public Works (DPW) Recycling Program Changes 

Recycle new schedule

The onslaught of COVID-19 cases has substantially impacted solid waste operations. Over the past two years, DPW prioritized routine trash collection over recycling and made that decision because timely trash collections are extremely important for public health.

Until staffing levels stabilize, recycling will be collected on a modified schedule. These modifications are essential to stabilize operations and ensure consistent, predictable, and sustainable services for residents.

DPW has created a user-friendly map for residents to find their collection day and cycle, and will continue to provide collection updates on its website. 

Green Network Pilot Project Progress

Rachael Wilson Park












In the midst of the snow, Racheal Wilson Memorial Park's playground installation began in early January. 

Racheal Wilson Memorial Park is located in SW Baltimore at 145 S. Calverton Road, and it is part of a pilot project of the Baltimore Green Network - a project of the Department of Planning in partnership with the Concerned Citizens of Boyd-Booth and the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks.

We would also like to thank our key community partner, Bon Secours Community Works for their help with the project.

A Loss for the Department of Planning and CHAP

Long time Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) employee Louella White recently passed away from complications due to Covid-19. 

Louella worked for CHAP from 1976 to 2004, and then for the Department of Planning until her retirement in 2006. She was the Executive Assistant and Office Manager for CHAP. With kind words and a cheerful smile, she greeted everyone who visited CHAP. She made everyone feel welcome. 

During her tenure, she counseled, trained and helped dozens of CHAP staffers become proficient in their jobs, many of which rose to high level positions in historic preservation. She was the sage counselor for sleepless staff beginning their journey in parenting and a shoulder to cry on when things got tough. She brought joy into our lives and will be sorely missed. 

She is survived by two wonderful daughters, grandchildren, and numerous nephews and nieces.  She will be greatly missed by us and those in her Pimilco community, where she spent her retirement years.

Pratt Library Distributing COVID-19 Test Kits on Saturdays

COVID 19 test kit

The Enoch Pratt Free Library will partner with the Baltimore City Health Department to distribute rapid COVID-19 home test kits at all locations on Saturdays in January.


All of Pratt’s 22 locations will give out kits, one per person, starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday until noon or when supplies run out. Regular library services will resume at noon.

What We're Reading (& Watching)

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

Events and Opportunities

The Maryland Historical Trust is accepting nominations for the 2022 Maryland Preservation Awards! You may complete a nomination here using the 2022 Nomination Instructions. The submission deadline is 11:59 p.m. on February 4, 2022..

Fighting for Civil Rights at Sparrows Point

Learn about the fight for civil rights at Sparrows Point through this discussion based on the podcast Sparrows Point: an American Steel Story. Co-hosted by the Baltimore Museum of Industry and the North Point Branch of Baltimore County Public Library as part of the Smithsonian traveling exhibition Voices & Votes: Democracy in America tour, this discussion will take place on Saturday, January 22 from 1-2:30 PM

Sparrows Point lecture

Engagement Opportunities

Office of Broadband and Digital Equity seeks input on public wifi.

A survey is available here:

Digital equity

Learn more about the Our Baltimore upcoming process!

Our Baltimore

Upcoming Commission Meetings.

1/19/2021 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. The January meeting covered the Climate Action Plan update - more info here!

1/20/22 - 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.

2/8/2022 - 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.

2/10/2022  - 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


Baltimore City Planning

417 E. Fayette Street, 8th Floor

Baltimore, Maryland 21202


department of planning