June Compass - eNews from Baltimore City Planning

Compass Logo over image of Baltimore Design School
The Compass is a monthly eNewsletter of the Baltimore City Department of Planning.

June, 2014

A Message from the Director…

I am excited to announce some changes in the Planning Department’s community planning coverage across City neighborhoods.  On June 9, three new planners joined the Comprehensive Planning Division.  The addition of these new planners, plus shifts of responsibilities among some existing staff, mean that many City neighborhoods will have a different assigned community planner.

These community coverage staffing changes will better allow staff to provide a high level of service to communities across the City.  The new coverage will also enhance our ability to implement INSPIRE, the Mayor’s neighborhood planning initiative around Year 1 and 2 schools in the 21st Century Building Program.  Read about INSPIRE in this newsletter. 

Community Planning continues to be an important function of the Baltimore City Department of Planning.  As staff in the Department’s Comprehensive Planning Division, community planners provide technical assistance and planning guidance on a wide range of land use, zoning and strategic planning matters.  Planners work directly with community organizations, as well as with institutions, non-profit groups, developers, city agencies and elected officials.

Thomas J. Stosur, Director


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Your Ideas Wanted:

New Partners for Smart Growth - Call for Proposals

The Local Government Commission will be bringing its New Partners for Smart Growth  conference to Baltimore in January of 2015. 

They are currently conducting a  “Call for Session Proposals” (CFSP) for the 2015 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference program. This process is open from Monday, June 2 through Friday, July 11.

Click here to go to their website, get additional information and begin your online proposal.

The conference will kick off on Thursday, Jan. 29th, and continue through Saturday, Jan. 31st, 2015.  Engaging pre-conference events, exciting tours of local model projects, networking forums, implementation workshops and other special features will make this “more than a conference.”

With over 80 sessions spanning three-plus days, there’s something for everybody, from veteran experts to smart-growth novices. Learn from hundreds of speakers who cross disciplines to share insights, best practices, and valuable tools and strategies for making smart growth a success in your community. The program will also be infused with sessions and case studies addressing equity and environmental justice issues.



The Planning Department is pleased to welcome three new Community Planners. Pictured below are: Chad Hayes, West District Planner; Mary Clapsaddle, Northwest District Planner; and Heather Martin, Central District Planner.

Photo of Chad Hayes
Image of Mary Clapsaddle
Photo of Central District Planner, Heather Martin

INSPIRE: Leveraging the $1.1B Investment in Baltimore City Schools

Baltimore City Public Schools, in partnership with the Maryland Stadium Authority, Baltimore City, and the State of Maryland will be investing $1.1 Billion to renovate or replace approximately 30 schools over the next several years through the 21st Century School Initiative (see map of Year 1 and Year 2 schools below). 

Map showing Year 1 and Year 2 Schools

Partners are working together to develop a three pronged approach to leverage this historic investment in our schools: 

o   Design and Construction: Baltimore City Public Schools and the Maryland Stadium Authority are leading the design and construction of new buildings and complete renovations, with a focus on the school buildings and sites.

o   Community Space in Schools: The Family League is facilitating a planning process to identify potential partnerships to address wrap around service needs of each school, such as after school programs, food banks, or mental health services.  The focus is services for students, their families and residents of surrounding neighborhood. 

o   INSPIRE: The Planning Department has begun developing a planning program for the neighborhoods around each of the new/renovated schools.  The program is called INSPIRE, which stands for Investing in Neighborhoods and Schools to Promote Improvement, Revitalization, and Excellence.

Image of Community Engagement Process Flow Chart

The INSPIRE plans will focus on the quarter mile surrounding each school to leverage the investment in the school and to provide a continuum from the school to the neighborhood (see sample map below).

Plans will provide vision to guide private investment as well as identify specific, implementable public improvements regarding Transportation, Housing, Open Space, etc. to improve the surrounding neighborhood so that it can better support the school. 

o   Stronger schools lead to stronger neighborhoods.  Millions of dollars of investment in schools can serve as a trigger point for additional investment in the surrounding neighborhood.  A plan is needed to guide that investment.

o   Stronger neighborhoods lead to stronger schools.  When students and families have all of their basic needs met, kids are more likely to attend school and have better outcomes. 

Sample Community Planning Area Map

To help ensure the success of INSPIRE, Mayor Rawlings-Blake has funded two new dedicated community planner positions in the FY 2015 budget, and has set aside $5 million of the next General Obligation Bond program, which comes for voter approval this November, to implement INSPIRE projects and priorities. 

Schedule for Most Year 1 Schools:

  • Stakeholder Engagement Kick-Off at Community Forums, June 2014
  • Walking Tours, Data, & Service Assessment, Summer 2014
  • Workshop(s), Fall 2014
  • Coordinate Community Schools Plan with Neighborhood Plan, Fall 2014
  • Develop Neighborhood Action Plan, Fall/Winter 2014

The planning and engagement process for Year 2 Schools is expected to begin in the Fall of 2014.

Link to Planning Districts Map with Contact Info