April Compass - An eNewsletter from Baltimore City Planning

Image of Planning Commission during Hearing
The Compass is a monthly eNewsletter of the Baltimore City Department of Planning.

April, 2013

A Message from the Director…

Over the past few years, the Department of Planning has been working tirelessly to review our current zoning code, rewrite it, and introduce City Council Bill 12-0152, that if approved will repeal and replace our  current, outdated code with a more modern one – TransForm Baltimore.

It has been a long and involved process, but given the herculean nature of the task, we are proud of the work we have accomplished, with your help.  We believe strongly that TransForm Baltimore will prove to be an important tool in our collective effort to preserve, protect and revitalize the City and all of its neighborhoods.

The next step will be City Council review, complete with a series of public hearings around the City, and if all goes well, the ultimate passage and implementation of a new Zoning Code for a vibrant and growing Baltimore City.

Thomas J. Stosur, Director


April CIP Spotlight:

The Baltimore City Charter requires that the Planning Commission prepare a six-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) annually.  The first year of each six-year program becomes the capital budget for the upcoming fiscal year and is the basis for the capital component of the Ordinance of Estimates, which is adopted by City Council.

The CIP is a very important role of the Planning Department, and CIP projects have the potential to transform communities.  So each month The Compass will highlight a project from the City’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP).  This month’s featured project is the rehabilitation of the City’s water mains.

Image of Pipeline being installed under the street

The Department of Public Works is undertaking a systematic effort to repair, rehabilitate, and replace the City’s aging water main infrastructure.  Baltimore’s water main infrastructure was installed in three different phases, yet all of the pipes are reaching their full life expectancy at once. Cast iron pipes installed in the 1800’s last about 120 years, pipes installed in the 1920s last about 100 years, and pipes installed in 1945 last about 75 years.   Much of the City’s water main infrastructure is already starting to fail and this will only worsen in the next ten years without significant investment.  Failure of the water main infrastructure has already caused extensive flooding and street closures in addition to water loss.  To address the overwhelming infrastructure investment that is needed, the Department of Public Works is implementing asset management best practices.  The Department considers the age, material, and condition of existing pipes, the social and economic impacts of failure, proximity to large mains, and repair costs in determining how to prioritize repairs and replacement.  

Total Construction Cost: $700 million in FY 2014-2019; $42 million in FY 2014

Baltimore City CIP: Water Revenue Bonds, $670 million in FY 2014-2019; $40 million in FY 2014

 The remaining funds come from County Grants and Water Utility Funds.

What are Water Revenue Bonds?

Water Revenue Bonds are bonds issued by DPW to be repaid with future water revenue (water bills).

Image of Facebook Link

TransForm Baltimore Moves to the City Council

Image of Citizen Reviewing New Zoning Maps

TransForm Baltimore, the zoning code rewrite made some very real progress over the past month, as we wrapped up a series of public hearings held throughout the city.  At these formal Planning Commission hearings, hundreds of people took advantage of the opportunity to gather information, ask questions, and provide formal testimony regarding the proposed zoning code.  

On Thursday, March 21, 2013 TransForm Baltimore passed a key milestone when the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of CCB 12-0172: TransForm Baltimore – Zoning, with amendments.  

Image of City Council Hearing on TransForm Baltimore

The following week, the TransForm Baltimore legislation, with the proposed amendments, was reviewed by the City Council on Wednesday April 3rd at a hearing of the Land Use and Transportation Committee, chaired by Councilman Edward Reisinger (District 10).

In addition to Planning, a number of other City agencies, with some relationship to the Zoning Code, also submitted their reports and recommendations on TransForm Baltimore  to the City Council prior to the April 3rd hearing.  The following provides you a link to the report of each agency:

When the City Council announces the next round of public hearings, the information will be posted on their website.  Although we will try to help get the word out, we encourage you to check the council website regularly for updates and potential amendments.


Staffing News:

The Planning Department is pleased to announce the newest member of its leadership team.  Theo Ngongang will be rejoining the Planning Department on April 29, 2013 to serve as Assistant Director, with responsibility for the Comprehensive Planning, Capital Improvement Programming, Sustainability/Food Policy and Research and Strategic Planning divisions. 

Image of Assistant Director Theo Ngongang

With over 15 years of experience Theo Ngongang brings broad expertise in both the public and private sectors, ranging from public policy analysis to transportation planning, economic development and urban planning.

Theo’s leadership has been demonstrated in various capacities throughout his career, most recently as Chief of the Planning and Project Development Division for Baltimore City Department of Transportation (DOT). He was also Regional Planner at the Planning Office of the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Central Business District Comprehensive Planner for the City of Baltimore’s Planning Department.

Earlier in his career, Theo spent almost 10 years in Chicago working as a Designer and Project Manager for various architectural firms.

A graduate of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government with a Master in Public Administration (MPA), Theo was trained as an Architect in Paris, France (Ecole Speciale d’Architecture) and holds a Master in Urban Planning and Town Management from Universite de Paris-XII-Institut d’Urbanisme de Paris (IUP), and a Master in Public Administration (MPA).

Upcoming Planning Events:

People, Planet, Prosperity: Celebrating Our 2012 Sustainability Successes

Tuesday, April 23rd 2013, from 6 – 8:00 pm at Humanim (former American Brewery Building), 1701 North Gay Street, Baltimore MD 21213

Image of Sustainability Office Logo

The Baltimore Commission on Sustainability invites you to celebrate the release of the 2012 Annual Sustainability Report.  Last year, the Commission and the City of Baltimore approved a Climate Action Plan, leading to the development of a Climate Adaptation Plan. Join us for an exciting and engaging evening celebrating such achievements and discussing climate change, health, and our City! Dinner and drinks will be served. Registration is free! RSVP HERE.

This event is a part of the 10th annual Baltimore Green Week.

New City Flood Maps and DP3 Town Hall Meeting

Tuesday April 30th, 2013, from 5 – 8:00 pm at the War Memorial Building, 101 N Gay St  Baltimore, MD 21202.

The City of Baltimore has new tidal flood maps! Come learn about how these changes will impact you and how you may be able to save money on flood insurance. Representatives from Federal, State, and Local agencies will be available to answer questions and share information. The City will also introduce the Disaster Preparedness and Planning Project (DP3) which integrates hazard mitigation efforts with climate change considerations. This is a great opportunity for community members to learn more about this important planning initiative and provide feedback.

East Baltimore Leadership Academy

Session 1:   Tuesday, April 30, 20136:00 pm to 8:30 pm, American Brewery, 1701 N. Gay Street, Baltimore, MD 21213

Session 2:    Saturday, May 4, 2013, 8:30 am to 12:30 pm, 901 N. Milton Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21205

Session 3:    Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, American Brewery, 1701 N. Gay Street, Baltimore, MD 21213

The East Baltimore leadership Academy will equip East Baltimore City Residents with essential leadership, community engagement, and urban planning knowledge and tools they can use to strengthen their communities. It is specifically designed for the residents and nonprofits serving the communities of:  Berea, Biddle Street, CARE, Darley Park, Dunbar-Broadway, East Balti-more Midway, Ellwood Park/Monument, Gay Street, Johnston Square, Madison-Eastend, McElderry Park, Middle East, Milton-Montford, Oldtown, Oliver, Pleasant View Gardens and South Clifton Park.

Sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, CPHA and the Baltimore City Department of Planning, the three day series will provide training on community engagement and urban planning. Participants are encouraged to attend all three days.  The Leadership Academy is FREE, but registration is required, sign up here.  For more information, call CPHA at 410.539.1369 x 107.