Collection Title: Baltimore City Planning Department (BCP)
Inclusive Dates: 1929-1973
Size: 324 linear feet
Scope and Contents:
Correspondence, cartographic records, case files, computer printouts, consultant reports, federal grant applications, housekeeping records, memos, newspaper clippings, photographic files, position papers, reference materials, staff reports, survey returns, and working papers. (Please note: Series I through IV and VI were returned to the Baltimore City Archives. To see these files, please email the BCA: firstname.lastname@example.org)
In Baltimore before 1918, a Topographic Survey Committee performed many of the tasks today associated with city planning. In 1918, the Board of Estimates named a quasi-official City Plan Committee of three members to take over the planning duties. By 1932, the Committee's lack of authority had become evident, especially in zoning matters. The Board of Estimates created a stronger Commission on City Plan. Although the new Commission possessed greater legal power than its predecessor, its authority too proved insufficient for effective planning.
On May 2, 1939, Baltimore voters ratified an amendment endowing the Commission on City Plan with greater power and status under the City Charter. The amendment established a commission of nine members, three public officials serving ex-officio and six additional city residents. The amendment required that the commission appoint a Secretary-Engineer and employees in accordance with Civil Service regulations. The commission received full power to investigate land uses and zoning and to prepare plans for physical development of the entire city. In 1947, another City Charter Amendment established the positions of Director and Deputy Director within the Department of Planning.
The collection was formally deposited at the University of Baltimore on August 8, 1973, based on a contract between Dr. W. T. Durr of the Baltimore Regional Institutional Studies Center and Larry Reich, Director of the Baltimore City Department of Planning. There were 20 accessions of records between 1972 and 1977. Upon request in 1989, Geraldine M. Yeager of the University of Baltimore returned Series 1-4 and 6 to Thomas L. Hollowak at the Baltimore City Archives.