Baltimore City Department of Planning e-News - July 2022

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the compass - city of baltimore department of planning

Baltimore City Department of Planning eNewsletter  - July 2022

A Message from Chris Ryer, Director


This summer, the Listening phase of the Comprehensive Plan process continues. As Community Engagement partner organizations and Storytelling Ambassadors continue to lead engagement over July and August, staff is analyzing input collected during our 4 Open House events, and beginning to plan the next stage of engagement for the fall.

Each summer also brings visitors to our agency. Many members of our staff enjoyed meeting No Boundaries Youth Organizers during their field trip to the Department of Planning. During the visit, we were able to talk about careers in the urban planning field and work on designing an engagement strategy to integrate youth into the Comprehensive Planning process.

We're excited to hear recommendations from youth organizers as they engage their peers this summer, and we will share their ideas with you in an upcoming newsletter!

Chris Ryer, Director

Our Baltimore: Summer Updates

Did you miss the Spring Open House events? There's still opportunities to get involved this summer and more this fall.


During the Listening phase of this planning process, the Department of Planning hosted a series of Open House events to identify topics of high priority to the public.

If you missed the Open House events, you can view the video from the virtual Open House via this link.

You can review the raw input from all the open house events here, and leave additional comments and input on the same page. You can also view the maps and data gallery we shared at each event by visiting this link, and leave additional feedback.

What's Next? Listening Phase continues...

  • Engagement continues this summer with our Community Engagement partner organizations and Storytelling Ambassadors leading the way.

  • Our survey is a quick way to provide initial input during this early stage of planning. The goal of this survey is to provide an additional online option for residents to provide general input if in-person engagement is not possible. This survey is an opportunity for our team to get a general sense of public sentiment about different approaches to planning and development. 
  • We will synthesize what we heard during this initial Listening Phase of the planning process into a summary report available to the public by September. Staff will dive into deeper research on high priority topics identified during the Listening phase.

In Fall, the Creating Phase begins...

  • From there, we will do additional engagement to dig deeper into priority topics. We will focus on understanding the issues related to each of the top priority topics elevated by the public during the spring/summer engagement. By hosting deeper public discussions, we aim to develop implementable and realistic recommendations.

  • These recommendations will be the foundation of a draft plan, which will be prepared in 2023 with additional public engagement/revisions.

Youth Organizers Visit Department of Planning This Summer

No Boundaries visit

No Boundaries youth organizers and Dept of Planning staff share about career aspirations and pathways

No Boundaries Coalition, a Community Engagement Leadership team partner, visited our office with a group of youth organizers to the Department of Planning on July 8. The organizers interacted with planners from every division and talked about career paths into the urban planning profession.

Then, the organizers worked with staff to develop and design an engagement strategy for youth. The organizers will use this strategy to engage their peers on the Comprehensive Plan in coming months. 

Enoch Pratt summer program

In August, Department of Planning staff will join the Design Your Future summer program at the Enoch Pratt library. This five week program is for teens to explore potential career paths. Our team will be sharing career paths related to urban planning, and facilitating a hands-on exercise related to the Comprehensive Plan update.

The program has a waitlist currently; if interested, please sign up via this link and note that our team will be presenting on the afternoon of August 1.

More info on the entire summer program at the Enoch Pratt for teens here.

Grant Awarded

Druid Heights Community Development Corporation (CDC) Awarded Grant

The $29,998 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust was supported by Department of Planning staff. The grant is part of CBT's Chesapeake Bay Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns Grant Program.

Overall, the program awarded over $1 Million on Friday, June 24th to support green infrastructure projects that will improve communities in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The funding received by Druid Heights CDC will help implement a greening project to reduce stormwater runoff that would otherwise drain into the Jones Falls watershed and the Chesapeake Bay.

The project will transform a series of vacant lots into a community-envisioned green space by incorporating trees, bioswales, and other stormwater management facilities. The design was created in partnership with Department of Planning urban design staff, Druid Heights CDC and neighborhood residents as part of their overall strategic vision for their West Baltimore neighborhood.

For more information on this project, please contact

JohnDre and Ren

Ren Southard, DOP Urban Designer, with JohnDre Jennings, Druid Heights CDC Executive Director, pose with design renderings created with Department of Planning to support this project

Neighborhood Design Center and Department of Planning Present Larry Reich Award for 2022 to Danise Jones-Dorsey

Tamara and Danise

DOP Policy Administrator Tamara Woods Presents Larry Reich Award to Ms. Danise Jones Dorsey

On June 5, 2022, Tamara Woods of the Department of Planning presented the Larry Reich Award to Ms. Danise Jones-Dorsey at the Neighborhood Design Center's 2022 Annual Awards. The award is co-sponsored by the Neighborhood Design Center and the Baltimore City Department of Planning and is given annually to an individual whose volunteer and professional work exemplifies a special commitment to grassroots planning and design.

The award honors decades long Baltimore City Planning Director Larry Reich (1965-1990), who is most notable for his role in the City’s Downtown Renaissance. The award commemorates his pioneering of community-based City Planning with a focus on transformative design. Ms. Jones- Dorsey’s professional career, board leadership and grassroots volunteer work equally span decades as a former Deputy Commissioner of HABC and now the Chairperson of the Northeast Housing Initiative (NEHI).  Staff excitedly announced that for the first time this honor would come with a cash award that the Department of Planning has pledged to support for the next 5 years.

Please join the Planning Department for Virtual Meetings in July to Discuss Guidelines for Areas of Special Signage Control

There are two virtual meetings scheduled for Wednesday, July 13th at 12-1:30pm and 7pm - 8:30pm to discuss adding new guidelines for Areas of Special Signage Control to the Baltimore City Design Manual.

Any updates will need to be adopted by the Planning Commission at a future date. The meeting will be formatted as a listening session to allow residents and stakeholders an opportunity to provide their thoughts to staff. Some topics where discussion is encouraged include;

  • Visual clutter and where signs are appropriate,
  • Compatibility with architectural design,
  • Impact to residential properties,
  • Protection of view corridors,
  • Example of Sign Types to be discussed – Electronic Signs, Wall Signs, Painted Signs,
  • General Advertising (billboards) as it relates to Areas of Special Signage Control

Please note that Areas of Special Sign Control are only allowed in C-1, C-1-E, C-1-VC, C-2, C-3, C-4, C-5, I-MU, OR, PC, and TOD Zoning Districts. Below are the links to the meetings. Please contact Caitlin Audette with any questions at 410-396-8354 or

ASSC Public Listening Session WebEx Webinar Info

Afternoon Meeting (12 noon)

Date and time: Wednesday, Jul 13, 2022 12:00 pm | (UTC-04:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)

Join link:

Webinar number: 2330 757 2023

Webinar password: Planning (75266464 from phones)

Join by phone

+1-408-418-9388 United States Toll

+1-646-992-2010 United States Toll (New York City)

Access code: 233 075 72023

Evening Meeting (7 PM)

Webinar topic: ASSC Signage Guidelines Listening Session- Evening

Date and time: Wednesday, Jul 13, 2022 7:00 pm | (UTC-04:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)

Join link:

Webinar number: 2339 417 1590

Webinar password: Planning (75266464 from phones)

Join by phone

+1-408-418-9388 United States Toll

+1-646-992-2010 United States Toll (New York City)

Access code: 233 941 71590

Links We've Been Reading


Buildings on the 300 block of Park Avenue, at the center of Chinatown, continue to house variety of Chinese businesses and organizations (Nicole Diehlmann 2021)

The Maryland Historic Trust has an ongoing project to document Asian American heritage in Baltimore City. This work is supported by the National Park Service Underrepresented Community Grant program.

Architectural historian Nicole A. Diehlmann of RK&K is currently working on this project, and has prepared an online blog documenting some of the findings related to Baltimore's Chinatown history.

This website captures quotes from newspaper articles as well as maps and images from the time period.

Baltimore National Heritage Hiring!

BNHA is hiring a Visual Information Specialist (Contractual) and a Outdoor Recreational Coordinator (Contractual)

Logo bnha

Funding for Cultural Organizations Now Available

Every two years, the City of Baltimore invites cultural organizations to apply for funding made available through General Obligation bonds for capital projects. These bonds are a small but critical component of the City's Capital Improvement Program. The goal is to provide capital support to organizations that promote arts and culture in Baltimore City and contribute to the City’s unique identity. The application is now available for FY24 & FY25 GO bonds. Applications are due August 15, 2022.

Awards between $50,000-$200,000 will be made available to support physical improvements to cultural spaces throughout the City. Projects that also promote equity will receive greater weight. 


The process is open to not for profit museums, galleries, and theaters, as well as all arts or cultural venues within designated arts and entertainment districts (click here for a map of these districts or visit the Maryland State Arts Council website to search by address). To apply organizations must: 

  • Be a museum, gallery, or theater (OR a cultural venue within a designated arts and entertainment district) 
  • Be a registered non-profit in good standing with the State Department of Assessment and Taxation 
  • Have a physical location in Baltimore City, and either own the facility or have a long-term lease and primary responsibility for capital improvements  
  • The facility must be open to the general public 

Looking for summer teen activities?

Teen Zone

Upcoming Commission Meetings.

7/12/22 (today!) and 8/9/22 - 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.

7/14/22 - 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.

7/21/22 and 8/11/22  - 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


Baltimore City Planning

417 E. Fayette Street, 8th Floor

Baltimore, Maryland 21202


department of planning