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September 2023 Community Meeting Notes

Board Members Present: Corey Jennings (President), Wynn Engle-Pratt (Vice President) Michele Baskin (Secretary), Sadie Baker, Chris Billack, Pete Morrill, Matt Williams

Staff member – Jen McKenzie, Amanda Rothschild

Total Attendees

~ 27, ~ 4 Hopkins, ~2 CGA

Start: 7:05

End: 8:50

Votes: N/A


  • Overview of GRIA Mission statement and activities
  • Hopkins presentation on plans for their new building: Data Science and Translation Institute (DSTI) 
    • New Strategic Plan which has led to a new Homewood Campus Master Plan
      • Primary result is a focus on new science, technology and research facilities and programs. Comparative research indicates that larger buildings are needed to compete with other research institutions.
      • Portions that impact or are adjacent to Remington: New DSTI building (information below), new academic building at Dell House block (29th and Charles), expansion of Steiff Silver building, renovations to 3001 Remington Ave, Wyman Park Drive/Sisson Street intersection improvements
    • DSTI Proposal
      • Two proposals, a by-right option (65 ft height) and a zoning variance required option (higher than 65 ft)
      • To receive zoning variance: submit Master Plan to UDAP (next meeting Oct 27th, not currently on agenda), introduce a new Ordinance to City Council
      • The location in the Wyman Park Precinct is closest to the Whiting Engineering School, remains largely undeveloped
      • Study 1 – By-right:
        • Along Remington Ave, ~500,000 sq ft, replaces chiller mechanical building
      • Study 2 – Variance required
        • Along Wyman Park Drive at Remington with two buildings on opposite sides, build out a greenspace entrance to campus
        • Keeps an envelope of 65 ft initially and then step up at a 45 degree angle to a higher 120 ft level along Remington facing side
        • Includes parking garage below DSTI B building on the south side of Wyman
        • Would allow for future development of chiller mechanical building on 3100 block of Remington at 65 ft height and an opening up of green space behind
      • Corey – Proposes a continued return of Hopkins with proposals without voting on a zoning variance yet, stating that this isn’t needed to go to UDAP, asks to come back in October to both Land Use and the Community Meeting
      • Q – Can we view this presentation? A – yes, GRIA will load onto website and send out in multiple ways (link above and also again here)
      • Q – Is the building going to be more pushed back from the street (Remington and/or Wyman) to allow for green space considering how close the current buildings along Remington are? A – yes, current building is too close according to current code and would need to be moved back but no design team has been enlisted yet to see what that could look like
      • Q – Will the WW2 monument along Wyman and the surrounding trees be affected? A – no, those are all on city property
      • Comment – This could increase traffic along Wyman Park Drive. Please consider supporting the closure of Wyman Park Drive.
      • Q – If there is no variance obtained, will the by right building be built instead? A – Yes, the new DSTI building would need to be built along all of Remington Ave at 65 ft height
      • Q – If variance was granted, what commitment can be made that you won’t return for more variances to build out the other buildings at higher levels? A – Another variance (and the process that entails) would be required for any other specific building. We are not asking for a blanket variance for increased height levels across the entire Homewood campus.
      • Q – What are the plans for the current child care facilities on Wyman and will Remington residents have access? A – Working on options to find a permanent location that is not another open space that would need to be moved for new construction. Hoping to increase the size as well.
      • Follow up Comment about resident access to the facility, presented as an option originally but it is clearly not (childcare is on our neighborhood master plan as a need), great concern that the loss of child care here would have a cascading effect on surrounding childcare facilities impacting Remington families
      • Comment – Hopkins started with 2017 ask to Wyman Park community for Agora building and issues around parking garage. That process took well over a year, but this feels rushed in comparison. More community engagement is needed. A – Was told that flyers were distributed along Wyman, 31st, Remington for the Sept 5th mtg (resident claims no flyers received), we do intend to return in October to Land Use and other meetings
      • Q – Light pollution along 31st is bad already so what might that look like with a 120 ft building? A – Looking into reducing the lighting at that building and factoring lighting into future designs
      • Q – Where is the balance between addressing needs of current students and planning for developing the future (very much a constant focus on new buildings and programs)? A – New Master Plan includes more housing and focus on student experience in addition to a new VP of Student Affairs/Experience
      • Q – Groundbreaking and building timeline? A – Need a design on board first, but hope is new building on line in 4.5 to 5 years from now, faculty for DSTI is being sought now
      • Comment – Consider moving groundskeeping from 31st to San Martin to deal with the tractor noise that starts very early in the day and goes all day (second that for the security building which operates 24 hours)
  • Plan Review for Street Tree Planting Project on 28th and 29th Streets
    • GRIA awarded $50k from Chesapeake Bay Trust to plant 50 trees along 28th and 29th from Howard to Sisson (area selected to match the Baltimore Sustainability plan for greening “corridors”)
    • Goal is to plant shade trees with a long term 20-30 year shade cover plan in consultation with Tree Baltimore and the Baltimore Forestry Department to select urban hardy trees that can handle pollution, road salt, type conditions
    • For every tree there will be two plants as well as 2 years of maintenance
    • Some new tree pits will be cut and others will be enlarged to provide for better root health and water access
    • GRIA will be walking along the corridor, flyering and talking to neighbors about tree pits and tree selections
    • Goal is to build off of this grant to get additional funds for more greening along other streets in the neighborhood to increase the tree canopy across the entire neighborhood
    • Q – If trees die will they be replaced? A – 1 year warranty on all the trees, generally have 90% success rate with new trees
  • Hauntington Updates
    • This year’s event will be Saturday October 28th along the 2900 block of Huntington Ave, from 5 pm to 8 pm
    • Volunteers needed for setup and cleanup, people who can do an activity during the event (face painting, scavenger hunt, etc.)
    • Please email Jen McKenzie to volunteer – and fill out the form 
  • Cleanup Updates
    • Next Community Cleanup date is Saturday October 21st at 10 am
    • Mend Acupuncture will be sponsoring
  • BPD – Supervisor for Northern District Community Engagement 443-934-7235
    • Car theft of Kia and Hyundai vehicles is still a problem (continued recommendation is to use a club-type anti-theft device), as well as package theft and a few commercial business thefts, otherwise violent crime in the neighborhood is low
  • Councilmember Stokes – Thank you for working on the 28th street road diet for over 5 years
  • Amanda Rothschild – Director of Neighborhood Initiatives
    • Discussed future workshops for the fall (dates and specific topics/partner participants pending) and need for flyering for both monthly flyers and workshop flyers

Community Announcements

  • Shop Small Remington Crawl – Saturday September 30th from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • Church of the Guardian Angel – new plan for alleyway behind the church, storm water mitigation design that would prevent water from going into the church courtyard by having permeable walkways and greening spaces