Baltimore City Department of Planning e-News - March 2022

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the compass - city of baltimore department of planning

Baltimore City Department of Planning eNewsletter  - March 2022

A Message from Chris Ryer, Director


This month, our team is beginning to gear up for the launch of the Comprehensive Plan, Our Baltimore, planned for April. At that date, we will release a website, tools and resources, and a menu of opportunities to get involved. We will also announce our Community Engagement Leadership team - this team will work to amplify the voices of communities they serve.

Separately, we are hosting a hosting a meeting this month to discuss the re-designation of TWO arts districts in Baltimore. The four arts districts in our city have supported community vitality over the past two decades, and we are excited to see our arts districts continue to flourish in the coming years. 

Finally, kudos to our food policy team for their continual work to collaborate with community partner organizations and continue to distribute food to those who need it the most throughout the Pandemic. The numbers below speak to the impact!

Chris Ryer, Director

Arts District Hearing for Re-designation

On March 29th, the Department of Planning is hosting a meeting to discuss re-designation of the Station North and Bromo Arts Districts. 

The purpose of the meeting is for people to learn about the impact of the A&E Districts and their plans moving forward, to ask questions, and to comment on the plans that are presented. The re-designation decision will be made by the Maryland State Arts Council, which is part of the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development - this hearing is part of the process.

Meeting date: Tuesday, March 29th @ 5:30 pm

Virtual meeting via Webex:

Event number: 2348 722 7466 Event password: Planning

Audio conference: United States Toll +1-408-418-9388 Access code: 2348 722 7466

There are a total of four arts districts in Baltimore City, out of 29 statewide. In 2001, Maryland became one of the first states to create a designation program for arts or cultural districts. 

Station North was the first area in Baltimore to receive the State designation as an Arts & Entertainment District in 2002.

The Bromo Arts District is anchored to the south by the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower. The district envelops historic Lexington Market and Antique Row. 

The other Arts Districts in Baltimore include the Black Arts District along Pennsylvania Avenue and Highlandtown's Arts District.

ArtsDistrict flyer

Food Distribution Continues; 17,000 Boxes Distributed Weekly

In an effort to help ensure that the residents of Baltimore City have access to fresh produce during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Food Policy and Planning Division continues to implement the COVID-19 Emergency Food Response. 

Currently, 17,000 produce boxes are being distributed to families across the city weekly! We have now distributed over 1.5 million total food boxes, 1.2 million of which have been produce boxes. It is important that we give a special thanks to our 70 plus community distribution partners who have committed to distributing produce boxes throughout our ongoing COVID-19 response. 

Food Policy

A New Asset Map for SW Baltimore

New tool enables people to review the latest investments in the area.


The Department of Planning Community Planning and Policy & Data Divisions teamed up to create an online interactive asset map for the Inner Southwest part of Baltimore city.  This map can be found online.

The map enables residents and potential businesses to see new projects and investment taking place in the Inner Southwest as well information on other assets such as museums, schools, stadiums, and transportation.

This tool can be used by anyone who wants to tell the story of where investment is happening and what assets are already in place in the Inner Southwest.  It may help inform those who might be seeking to open an office, lab, restaurant, commercial venture or even buy a house.

Please feel free to contact if you wish to make a suggestion or have questions.

A Vision for Middle Branch Presented


The Reimagine Middle Branch project team presented its efforts to the Urban Design and Architectural Advisory Panel on Thursday, 3/10/22. Reimagine Middle Branch encompasses more than a dozen South Baltimore neighborhoods over an 11 mile stretch along Baltimore's softer harbor. 

The plan is conceived with a 3-point approach, developed with a wide range of stakeholders and community partners: 

  • Protect and Connect the Shoreline by creating a thick, resilient shoreline to protect from flooding; 
  • Transform Barriers into Connections with Complete streets, new mixed-use development, celebration of African American heritage;  
  • Support Communities with Parks and Programs – create parks in collaboration with equitable development to increase the quality of life.

At an earlier public meeting on February 24, landscape architecture and urban design firm James Corner Field Operations presented proposed design ideas for 11+ miles of shoreline along the Patapsco River in South Baltimore.

The meeting was hosted by the City of Baltimore, South Baltimore Gateway Partnership and Parks & People Foundation. The designs included:

An Expanded Middle Branch Park: In Cherry Hill, the plan centers on an expanded Middle Branch Park that links Middle Branch Fitness and Wellness Center in Reedbird Park with the shoreline around Medstar Harbor Hospital. In the heart of the Middle Branch Park, a range of improvements are envisioned, including a new boathouse, improved boating and fishing piers, and an expanded playground. The existing boathouse is proposed to be adapted for social space and a food hall or marketplace. 

Ridgely’s Cove: The Middle Branch’s public open space network will front new, proposed developments in Westport and Port Covington and extend north to Ridgely’s Cove, where large expanses of marsh will form a “maritime park” that also functions as green-stormwater infrastructure and creates a new natural area at the mouth of the Gwynns Falls. The proposed trail network in Ridgley’s Cove includes boardwalks and a new east-west pedestrian bridge that connects Westport with Port Covington, and links three parks: Black Sox Park to the west, Swann Park to the east and a new “Underpass Park” at Stockholm and Sharp Streets.

The Loop Trail: The Loop Trail will connect all these parks and open spaces with bike and walking trails, creating an 11-mile circuit around the Middle Branch that connects to regional trails, including Gwynns Falls Trail to the northwest and the BWI and East Coast Greenway trails to the south. In addition to providing connections and recreational opportunities, segments of trail network will tell a story about South Baltimore’s culture and history, linking significant places and offering new cultural programming.

For more information on the Reimagine Middle Branch project, and to register and learn about upcoming public engagement opportunities, visit:

Updates from Our Sustainability Team - Save the Dates!

Date: Wednesday, March 16th 

Time: 4:00 - 6:00 PM 

Location: Virtual, via WebEx (Please register through Eventbrite.) 

Description: The March 2022 meeting will explore the ways energy touches our lives - from household energy burdens to the health implications associated with energy-related GHG emissions and overall energy use in buildings including homes, offices, schools hospitals and churches. Join us on March 16th to learn more about how access to affordable, reliable energy effects you and what can be done in Baltimore to support more sustainable energy infrastructure. 

Date: Wednesday, April 20th 

Time: 4:00 - 6:00 PM 

Description: The April Commission on Sustainability meeting will feature a Sustainability and Resiliency Community Forum. The goal of the forum is to provide Baltimore City residents updates on sustainability and resiliency actions taking place across Baltimore, outline progress on implementing strategies and actions in the 2019 Sustainability Plan, and the commitment to sustainability, resiliency and environmental justice in Mayor Scott’s Term 1 Action Plan. During the event residents will learn how the City's Sustainability and Resiliency Subcabinet is helping the city reach urban sustainability goals through inter-agency collaboration. 

Date: Wednesday, June 8th 

Time: 4:00 - 7:00 PM 

Location: Shake & Bake, 1601 Penn. Ave. 

Description: The city's annual Sustainability Open House will feature interactive sustainability displays, free giveaways, free food and much, much more! The theme of this year's event is The Art of Climate Action. Come learn how Baltimore is becoming more sustainable, more resilient and more equitable. You won't want to miss this FREE event full of fun, educational and engaging activities for all ages. Register to attend by clicking here 

Vendors: We are looking for organizations across the city to table and share their community-based initiatives that support sustainability and social equity while building resiliency among the populations they serve. If your organization is interested in tabling, please complete this form to register. 


Interesting Opportunities

Artist Recovery

Applications are now open for the Baltimore City Artist Recovery Grant Award (ARG), administered by Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) on behalf of the city, to support Individual Artists impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency. To apply CLICK HERE.

The Creative Alliance is seeking artists and community groups to design unique kites for the Big Baltimore Kit Festival.

The kite festival will take place in Patterson Park on Saturday April 2, 2022.

The deadline for submitting a proposal for a kite project is March 17. Here is a link to the application form.

Events Around Town

Introducing: Baltimore Community Change Project 2010-2020

Announcing the launch of the Baltimore Community Change 2010-2020 project, led by Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance.With Baltimore experiencing another decade of population loss that represents continued stress on the city's stability and positive change, this ongoing effort to help local residents understand why and how this is occurring—and begin the process of turning it around.

  • Come hear experts who are steeped in the specific issues within the Baltimore Community Change reports share their thoughts about the findings and key takeaways for us all to think about heading into the Community Change Summit.
  • During the week of March 21-26, everyone interested can attend a session to help find data-driven solutions together that will help stop population loss and close the gap on disparities evident across our communities.

A full schedule of events can be reviewed here:

Baltimore Community Change Events | BNIA – Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance (

More information about this project can be read here.

Upcoming Commission Meetings.

3/16/22 - 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.

3/17/22  - 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

3/31/22 - 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.

4/12/22 - 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


department of planning